Realities of Resistance to Change in Healthcare

Why is there not an immediate and complete transition the proven CITE Systems in the market resulting in legendary commercial success?  All claims are true, so why do people still suffer the legacy failed service realities?  The answer is deep in human nature and insidious.  Human resistance to change operates in an inconspicuous and seemingly harmless way but actually comes with grave effect to humanity.  With all things well designed, applied and proven, the innovator still has work ahead in the form of change management.   

Patients Don’t Respond Well to Change

Society has its engrained standard expectations, long established, that it is reluctant or even unable to shrug off.  What if your physician walked into the examination room in cutoff jeans and a tattered t-shirt?  More seriously though methods of care are antiquated, absurd, but somehow still sustain as natural and ongoing, against all logic and reason.  The established healthcare process for example itself is absurd but broadly expected and generally demanded.  Processes of waiting, paper work, waiting, being disconnected, etc. are a routine.  Appearance of facilities, doctors, nurses, care rooms and more remain generally unchanged for the past 150 years.  Some of these standards are partly to blame for the fact that medical error is the #3 killer in North America or has massive inequities and we all know it but somehow push these facts to the back of our minds.  Going to the hospital can and often does make health issues worse or even introduces new issues due to standardized methods and yet, demand these and go back for more.  And despite the need and call for it, any change to the established process does seem to cause challenge to the patients.  When ongoing healthcare problems seem to be amorphous and vague, the “new change” has always been automatically suspect and provides a specific thing to point to as the reason for the vague issues.  

Staff doesn’t Easily Accept Change

The “I go to work, I do my job well, I’m good at it, I go home and ultimately I get paid.” mantra is pervasive.  Knowing something is wrong with the care model is also demanding a form of special self awareness from staff.  Any light shown on the ongoing issues, specific to patient and staff engagement, can and often does get taken as a reproach.  Cognitive dissonance is real and deeply rooted in the healthcare space.  Like the patient, staff is often looking for something specific to point to for explaining the issues pervasive in healthcare; and nothing is easier than the most recent change.  GeaCom’s experience is that our innovations create objectively positive patient results, staff champions and oddly some staff detractors.  Complaints are always louder and more urgent than compliments and accomplishments.  The health outcomes should be all that matters to commit to CITE Solutions and then those uneasy with change should participate in molding it to their best application ideas rather than expend energy to support failing status quo.  The “I go to work, I do my job well, I go home and ultimately I get paid.” mantra comes to play when detractors point out that it feels like their being asked to do something more and not getting remunerated for it or that the new thing threatens their perceived value (it seems easier to not change).

The System is Change Resistant

Budgets, infrastructure, architecture, habits, processes, billings and more are designed for the status quo.  The top fifty medical suppliers are all top 100 largest business interests in the world.  Do you suppose these fat cats are interested in change or ethics?  These suppliers spend $100s of billions on keeping the status quo.  From the sellers of furniture and beds to the legacy suppliers of patient education and entertainment they fight to keep the status quo, they help design the buildings, fund the medical schools, establish the supply chains and all things that make the economic of healthcare the mess they are.  Somehow, the administrators and staff know this but surrender to the cost and challenge of change being too high.

Examples of Recent Change

A space unwilling and unable to change had the Affordable Care Act (ACA) foisted upon it to bring modernized medical records, improved community health, streamlined billing and other modernization initiatives to play through legislation.  To make these changes the Federal government had to mandate it and provide trillions of dollars to press it into play (like a bribe).  Many of these changes objectively had to happen.  The results you know; fighting, rejection, political turmoil, wasted funds, a desire to go back to the way it was and a total ignoring of the reality of issues and failures the market faces.  Anger and rejection are simple human responses especially when it comes to change.  Look to the strength of complaints regarding change due to ACA and measure that against the responses to learning medical error is the #3 killer or that inequities based on race are pervasive, or the myriad of other real concerns that cause deep daily suffering and you’ll see the absurdity pointed out here.  People fight change harder than they fight for justice, for morality and for innovation.

This blog outlined the high level reality of change resistance but for more detailed reasons, search these topics:

Inequities in healthcare

Total national healthcare budget

Error rate in healthcare

Doctor and healthcare staff burn out

EMR inefficiencies

Cognitive Dissonance in Healthcare

Civil Rights amendment

American’s with Disabilities Act

Healthcare resistance to change

Change management strategies

These searches should have you driving into interesting and shocking directions on the topic.

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