The healthcare industry is constantly evolving in its practices, technology, and people. The daily activities of a healthcare professional 50 years ago compared to those of today is a stark contrast right across the board. To facilitate this fast-paced changing environment requires introduction of new medical devices and medical practices; however, this requires clinical engagement and approval across the board.
What Is Clinical Engagement?
Clinicians have major influence over patient care, however, they need the support of their organisation in terms of resources to successfully implement their decisions. Engagement is about healthcare managers and staff discussing how the organisation runs and using the wealth of knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses of their system to achieve successful and lasting change. Clinical engagement allows the positive contribution of an individual within their normal working roles to maintain and enhance the performance of the organisation which itself recognises this commitment in supporting and encouraging high-quality care. Engaged clinicians are willing to exceed the expected level of effort and feel inspired to do their best work.
What Drives Clinical Engagement?
In most cases, senior clinicians will engage with a new product because they believe it will benefit the overall healthcare of patients.
Senior clinicians have a lot of professional responsibility to patients and employing organisation. A part of this responsibility is to influence better patient outcomes by constantly improving and seeking new projects that will shape these improvements. For example, a senior nurse that has been affected by cancer in their family may wish to endorse a project that implements a new product that may help cancer patients. Another example may be a nurse asking for clinical grade non-contact thermometer implementation due to experiences with tympanic or rectal thermometers at regular intervals. Past experiences will ultimately drive the plans that will improve patient comfort and outcomes.
Clinical Engagement – Culture & Development
A study from the King’s fund looked at four trusts within the UK and found that engagement would not occur without commitment from the organisations structure that is embedded in the culture and common goals for improving clinical outcomes. The study highlighted that clear communication, leadership and respect between clinicians and leaders created a positive culture for promoting change. Other areas highlighted the focus on training and development of their leaders to actively seek new ideas from nurses that would implement change for the organisation.
Many trusts take a positive approach with introducing innovative products/procedures by looking at other high performing organisations. They believe that clinical engagement should be shared from other organisations that will ultimately improve patient care for all.
Tips: How to Get Clinical Engagement for New Medical Devices
- Have a well-prepared project plan with clear objectives to benefit patient care.
- Be well informed with accurate facts.
- Setting up clinical trials is the best way to demonstrate a new product’s value.
- Get to know your clinicians – listen to them and respond to their concerns. They have more insight into patient care and may be able to provide key information.
- Share examples of success stories elsewhere.
- Focus on quality improvement rather than delivering targets.
- Communicate regularly about progress and see the project through .
Challenges In Getting Clinical Engagement?
Time – Meaningful engagement takes time, a cultural shift within a healthcare system will occur rather than one-off engagement before any new implementation gains traction.
Communication – Breakdown is a challenge for organisations. Communication must be a two-way street in which a precedence should be set on meetings and reviews on how the new product/implementation is going.
Attitudes – Leaders can be a barrier for clinicians wanting to make a difference. If leaders take the stance of an all-knowing “I make the decisions” stance, this will ultimately deter the clinicians wanting to come forward with new ideas.
Engagement is the active and positive contribution of an individual within their normal working roles to maintain and enhance the performance of the organisation which itself recognises this commitment in supporting and encouraging high-quality care.
Disclaimer: This blog article does not constitute advice for Healthcare Professionals. It is written as a guide only and should not be constituted as advice. Healthcare Professionals should ensure they receive adequate training on Clinical Engagement and use sources of information from regulated bodies, appropriate to their professions.