Source: http://torontoisms.blogspot.ca/2015/06/the-young-queen-torontos-queen-west.html

Last year I had the opportunity to support the official launch of the I-CARE system at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). On May 29, 2014 at 7 am, the I-CARE support team turned on the “switch” for I-CARE, CAMH’s new clinical information system (CIS). The team was composed of the I-CARE project team, Information Management Group (IMG) staff, clinical “early adopters”, the Cerner and Deloitte teams and clinicians experienced in using the Cerner system.

Having the opportunity to work the first go-live support shift allowed me to experience the adrenaline rush that comes with the first day of implementation. In addition, came the fear of transformation. I knew I had received the required training, tested the system and had the supporting documents and resources I needed, yet I was still anxious. I had six weeks to promote the adoption of a brand new CIS using value proposition as the primary driver. Would I be able to engage existing stakeholder groups in a couple of months?

As I mastered my skills as a system trainer, I began to explore innovative ways to engage stakeholders in the implementation. I realized that to add to the success, I had to go above and beyond the role of a support staff member and envision myself as an agent of change to start to see CAMH transform as an organization. My idea of success was no longer defined by the number of questions I could answer, but rather by the number of clinicians I connected with throughout the implementation. What did it take to build this connection?

  • Having a clear understanding of the vision behind the project helped me redirect the end users’ attention away from their frustration. Reiterating the ultimate goal of the implementation helped clinicians put things into perspective, despite the system challenge at hand.
  • Assessing end-user IT literacy helped me practice patience! Until I identified the comfort level of the stakeholders I was supporting, it was unreasonable to assume they would persevere in learning how to use the system.
  • Asking difficult questions only made the job easier. Posing thoughtful questions helped identify barriers to uptake and opportunities for success. This included questions like, “Is the work environment in which you are training conducive to learning?” and “Does the clinical team support the I-CARE vision?”
  • Don’t claim to be the expert you were never meant to be. With an implementation so large, knowing the system inside out was simply unrealistic. If I was unable to provide the support needed, I wasn’t afraid to admit that I didn’t know the answer. Looking for an opportunity to seek feedback and reassuring the end user about following up when more information was available was important.
  • Strong relationships build trust. Based on my experience, I suggest taking the time to get to know the stakeholders being supported throughout the implementation. Organizational change can be fearsome and stressful to some! Taking a personal approach to system training can help welcome the change, leaving end users feeling empowered and ready to explore the benefits of health information technology.


The post Engaging Stakeholders: The Key to CAMH I-CARE Success is part of the COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association eHIP Forum series about career paths, industry trends and hot topics for professionals in the first five years of their HI career.