Training key to Transition at Medical Council

The Medical Council of New Zealand (Council) promote and protect public health and safety in New Zealand. They are governed by a Council and are funded by the registration and practising certificate fees paid by all practising doctors in New Zealand.

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An upgrade to your document management system can be an ideal moment to make other improvements. Changes to operating systems, hardware and software can all become part of one package. Although this allows you to be efficient in your process, it also puts pressure on your staff to learn new ways of working. Comprehensive change management is crucial to ensure that your team is on board and remains productive and positive during transition.

The Council’s upgrade from OpenText eDOCS to OpenText Content Server presented a number of opportunities to improve their overall systems. It enabled them to upgrade their Microsoft Office suite and Windows operating system to leverage hardware to its true capacity. Lacking the necessary in house resources to provide support to staff during this transition while also carrying out the actual changes, the Council decided to bring in Techtonics to assist.

Challenges

When the Council began evaluating a move to Content Server, they arranged for an external specialist to talk to staff and identify their frustrations. Inconsistency of training across eDOCS was a major concern. Training for the eDOCS system was conducted too far in advance from the go-live date. Retention of information was low and resulted in only 30 percent of staff regularly using eDOCS.

Techtonics and the Council were therefore very conscious of the need to learn from this past experience when carrying out the training for Content Server.

Without specialist in-house training resources, the Council lacked the necessary skills to determine the training needs of their staff, nor deliver the training to match.

There was never a doubt that training would be a part of the project; the question was how?

The Solution

Using Techtonics to help support Council through this change was “a logical choice,” says Andrew Cullen, the Council’s Senior Information Systems Analyst. Techtonics were already involved with the project and even more importantly:

“Techtonics were familiar with all of our customisations… I don’t think we would ever have looked at doing it ourselves because of our limited resources. While we might have carried out some of the training ourselves, this would have taken us away from what we needed to be doing.”

Techtonics had two full time trainers with over 15 years of experience who knew how to approach the situation. They conducted a user needs analysis with staff to develop a training course and a follow-up model that would enable the Council to roll out their changes smoothly.

The model included Train the Tester training, classroom based learning, resources and guides as well as post go-live floor walking to offer one-on-one support to users.

Preparation for launch began behind the scenes a number of weeks in advance of go-live with the Techtonics Train the Tester course.

Council staff who were involved in the testing benefited from having that extra time to just go into the room and play around the new system,” says Andrew Cullen.

Classroom based Content Server training was rolled out to all staff in the two weeks before the launch day to ensure that information was fresh in the minds of users. With a foundation level of training, staff had the basics of using Content Server to ease them into the new system.

However, using Content Server outside of the classroom raised additional support requirements and a combination approach was adopted. After go-live was complete, Techtonics’ staff were on hand, floor walking to troubleshoot and provide individual staff support for the first few weeks.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Techtonics’ support during this period of significant change was crucial in enabling the Council to complete a challenging upgrade of multiple systems.

By taking into account the needs of users and the abilities and capacity of Council staff, Techtonics was able to create an implementation plan for the project which ensured a smooth transition onto the upgraded systems.

Having the training performed by Techtonics took pressure off the Council’s upgrade team and having support available after go-live while staff were familiarising themselves with the system minimised the negative impacts of change and reduced the time needed for users to adjust to and become productive in the new system.

In addition, exposing users to the system early in the project helped to create an additional informal support network within the organisation with these early adopters becoming power users to whom staff can turn when they face challenges.

”The main way in which the training helped us to achieve our goals was by allowing us to do that huge transition in one shot.

Basically, getting going and getting acceptance of  the changes without the training and without the floor walking would have been a lot tougher and taken a lot longer to get through it. We would have been supporting people for months as opposed to providing three weeks of floor walking support.

It would have been a much greater drain on our internal resources if we had just gone it alone or done no training.”

 

We had high visibility on the floor and people could see that we were doing our best. Three people on the floor. Lots of support. It was good. Really good.”

Andrew Cullen, Senior Information Systems Analyst, Medical Council of New Zealand.