Every organization I’ve worked with has had challenges with trusting their data and systems at some point. It is one of the main reasons why clients have chosen to go with us! Today I want to share our process at Data Services Partners to help build trust in tools that we develop.
Trust is a sensitive subject. When developing new tools, you have a small window to create organizational buy-in and establish trust.
It is better to establish trustworthiness early on in a project instead of trying to claw back after a failed rollout.
- Step 1: Identify influential leaders within an organization. Ideally, try and identify leaders who others highly respect and/or leaders who have the biggest complaints about existing systems. We want to create buy-in with these individuals and help them to become evangelists for the IT systems we develop. We will have to earn this trust.
- Step 2: Collaborative & Detailed Validation. Whether you are developing a new reporting system or application, we need to go through a rigorous validation phase. This is critical! For PCC for example, let’s say we are working on admission counts. We hold zoom (screen share) meetings with the leaders from (Step 1). We have them run front-end reports in PCC and compare the data to our custom systems. *Tip: Validate down to granular detail like by patient and by employee!
- Step 3: Fix Issues & Repeat until the Leaders Trust It. Repeat until the influential but skeptical leader is fully on board that the numbers are trustworthy and accurate. When working with relay databases like PCC, there will always be some variances due to system timing*.
- *Important: The goal of validation isn’t to make PERFECT data. It is to get the influential leaders comfortable with the data and processes enough to the point where they can vouch that they can make business decisions off the information. This is key! We need to address feelings** of leaders along with making sure our data is as accurate as possible.
- ** When a leader says they don’t feel like numbers are right or don’t trust the numbers. Listen to them! Even if they’re wrong, go through the process above with them. You might find that there is an actual problem that you missed as an IT team. The other alternative is that this is an opportunity to build a relationship with that leader and help create more evangelists for your project. People’s feelings matter. If you want people to use the tools you develop, you must acknowledge their feelings. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen enough in IT organizations.
- Step 4: Share the News. Have the leaders from (Step 1) share the outcome of your validation process with other leaders! The influential leaders should be the ones who communicates the rollout of a new tool. Have them setup WebEx meetings or send out the e-mail communications. IT should be a support role. This approach makes it clear that IT isn’t pushing tools on operational leaders. These tools are built by Administrators & DONs for Administrators & DONs!
- Step 5: On-Going Support. Reporting systems are constantly changing/breaking and needing updates due to technical changes and industry changes! Spread the message that IT is actively supporting these tools and always open to revisit the validation process. If trust begins to fade, be proactive, and hold a meeting to kick start the process from (Step 1). Having operational leaders who feel like IT has their backs goes a long way.
If you are struggling with trusting your reporting & data in your organization, share this article with your IT leaders!
I hope you find these steps useful when rolling out new applications, data & reports in your post-acute business. If you ever want help with creating new tools for your SNF leaders and want our help, we are just an e-mail away!
Data Services Partners
Kevin is a loving father of two and avid runner who specializes in understanding business needs and designing unique & effective solutions for organizations. His previous role was Director of Data Services at Ensign Services, a 28,000+ employee publicly traded post-acute care company. Data Services Partners sprung from Kevin’s passion & expertise in data warehousing, reporting, data integration & custom software development. The mission of Data Services Partners is to help smaller skilled nursing operators have the same technology and sophistication as their larger competitors.