Point-of-Care Perspectives from PatientPoint

5 Tips for Getting Your Oncology Team to Embrace Change

by PatientPoint

Whether you’re preparing to follow the new Enhancing Oncology Model (EOM), introduce a new goal or alter a policy at your oncology practice, it’s important to get your team on board with the changes you’re making to be successful. 

Follow these tips to make a major transformation in your oncology practice that your team will embrace. 

Explain your reasoning 

When you introduce a new or altered initiative to your staff, be sure to explain why you are making this change. Having this open conversation will not only limit the number of questions that come your way about the initiative later but also ensure your staff better understands the practice’s reasoning. No one wants to be told to do something simply because they were told to; they want to know the purpose behind it, and how it ultimately impacts their day-to-day tasks. Change doesn’t have to be scary—especially if that change will help the team accomplish their goals more quickly or easily. 

But be sure not to give too much information at one time, or your team may feel overwhelmed. Focus on the most important details of the change in your initial announcement and plan follow-up meetings with individual teams on how this change will be implemented. 

Find ambassadors 

To keep morale high even when you’re not around, find a group of staff members to be ambassadors for the change. This group would ideally be comprised of about three people who will follow the new initiative while also answering questions and addressing the challenges found by their peers. Be sure whoever you choose still has the time to fulfill their primary duties. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

A provider looking at a back office screen saying "Remind patients to sign up for our patient portal"

No matter how well you explained everything the first time, it’s a good idea to implement a communication strategy before, during and after the change. Make yourself available for any questions that arise and let your staff know if there are any new developments so they don’t feel confused and left in the dark. 

An effective communication strategy should: 

  1. Be truthful 

  1. Be timely 

  1. Focus on consistency 

  1. Answer “what’s in it for me?”

  1. Include multiple channels 

  1. Deliver  

Be positive 

As important as it is to be honest about the new direction your practice is taking and address any concerns that arise, you don’t want to speak negatively about the change, or you will also negatively affect your team’s opinion on it. For instance, many practices worry about the risks associated with the EOM, but they should still emphasize all the rewards, like the potential for increased health outcomes, to get doctors on board. Otherwise, they may think there’s little point in trying something new. 

Be supportive 

A provider and a patient viewing an exam room screen showing a cancer screening message

When an MA is trying out a new screening tool or working to meet a new goal, they might not find success right away, and that’s okay. Acknowledge that they are making an effort and encourage them to keep trying, offering constructive criticism as needed. One way to show support is by shouting out team members on a back office screen. 

One major change on the horizon for many oncology practices is the implementation of the EOM. Learn more about this new model and how to prepare for it by checking out our interview with Dr. Kashyap Patel

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