Change in healthcare is difficult to generate and sustain at times. In some ways, this is due to the complex nature of healthcare organizations and the various disciplines that comprise them. In any sustainable change effort, change agents must be present. The change agent is a project champion who promotes and drives the effort in support of its goals. These may be internal or external to the organization but either way the play an essential role in the change effort (Alagoz et al., 2018). The change agent may sometimes face the significant challenge of combating resistance to the change effort, or “selling” the change to the individuals in the organization. When we consider the myriad of professional disciplines, the change agent must balance the needs of physician practitioners and other staff members, who often have conflicting agendas. Gesme and Wiseman (2010) tell us that change must start at the top for agents who drive it, which means prioritizing physicians as they set the tone for the practice. However, that does not mean they are the sole consideration. Change must be delivered organizationally not individually, which demands that leaders and change agents find balances between these two. These decisions should be supported with data that paints a picture of how the organization as a whole must shift to accommodate the desired change. Additionally, how that change will benefit all involved. Having universally data driven change goals rather than opinion or agenda driven ones ensures fairness for all individuals, providers and otherwise. Additionally, open, transparent communication between change agents and all parties with a welcome option for dialogue can help create compromise between the parties. Communication can go a long way, and giving everyone “a seat” at the discussion table can go a long way with crossing professional barriers that might impact change efforts in a negative way.
Zlagoz, E., Chih, M. Y., Hitchcock, M., Brown, R., & Quanbeck, A. (2018). The use of external change agents to promote quality improvement and organizational change in healthcare organizations: a systematic review. BMC health services research, 18(1), 42. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-2856-9
Gesme, D., & Wiseman, M. (2010). How to implement change in practice. Journal of oncology practice, 6(5), 257–259. https://doi.org/10.1200/JOP.000089