In a hospital and clinical setting, communication is everything and is especially important in Healthcare Technology Management (HTM). As medical equipment continues to evolve from standalone devices into integrated systems, this communication in solving equipment failures becomes even more essential. From contacting the vendor to help troubleshoot, clinical applications specialists to monitor HL7 communication, and clinical end users to help test after a solution is found, all parties are needed to resolve a complex problem. However, rounding up these individuals can be time consuming, with some not sensing the same urgency as you when you notice a potential problem. This begs the question; how do you get these stakeholders to want to help you?
Coming up on my fourth year as an HTM professional, I’ve encountered numerous types of individuals and have observed the interactions I’ve had with them. Personally, the most important observation I have made is that leaders do not necessarily need to be the head of a department, or even in a supervisory role. Narrowing that down even more, there are two types of leaders; those that direct/delegate, and those that are out on the front line making sure things get done and leading by example. If you find yourself directing tasks and projects and not accruing any yourself, I can tell you now that it may be more difficult to get the most out of people. Why is someone going to want to go the extra mile to help you when they know your workload is minimal? Show them that you are capable of leading projects and handling tasks yourself, so that they feel inclined to lend a hand when you need it.
Giving appropriate recognition and expressing gratitude is so important when it comes to generating support and, unfortunately, all too often it is lost during day-to-day operations. A personal rule of thumb of mine is that you can never say “thank you” or “good job” too much. Although you may think it is an easy task, the individual assisting you may have jumped through numerous hoops to get it done for you. Coworkers or employees that feel underappreciated are far less likely to want to continue to assist you when something arises. If you find it difficult to remember the last time you sent some appreciation to someone that helped you, take the time to let them know their work and effort is valued.
My final advice on building successful relationships is no surprise to many: help others. Make sure to know the key people that are part of solving these interdisciplinary issues and, just as you need their support, ensure that you are there providing a commensurate amount of support in return. Each day, plan appropriate amounts of time to adapt to the needs of others, just as you will require them to adapt to you. Even if you are unable to help them, take the time to explain why, or help point them in the right direction. Few people will come running to your side if they know you never come running to theirs.
Having strong relationships with your peers will drastically reduce medical device downtime and streamline project timelines in your department. Think about the last time you took on a project or task at your facility rather than delegate it out, the last time you said thank you to a co-worker for their hard work, or the last time you went out of your way to help a key stakeholder. If you find it difficult to remember a scenario for any of the above, remember these tips moving forward. They are extremely important in building a healthy work environment and, more importantly, they are all vital in building a network of individuals eager to help you when a problem arises.
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