Partner Spotlight: Promoting Change with New Technology in your NICU

We hope you all traveled home safely after NANT 13 Conference in beautiful Arizona and are feeling invigorated and powered-up to initiate some positive change in your NICUs!

So many of you visited the NTrainer Booth and asked such interesting and thoughtful questions. Thankfully the decades of evidence surrounding the design, safety and efficacy of the NTrainer System® in neonates born prematurely speaks for itself, and while many Neonatal Therapists agree the device would be a great way to augment their care, we received some questions around staff adoption of clinically innovative technology. We heard statements like, “I’m not sure if my team will use this” and “how do I get everyone on board?” While we do not often see problems in adoption, we thought we would follow-up and provide some evidence from the literature that may empower you to march forward with your goals.

First and foremost, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Anyone who is involved in acquiring something new in your unit will need to really understand what it is and why you need it. That “buy-in” relies heavily on tenants of Evidence-Based Practice, so gather your articles and get ready to present. By clicking here you can access the “Clinical Evidence Reference List” which allows easy access links to the articles that support the NTrainer.

Second, consider using the “Diffusion of Innovations Model” to anticipate staff responses to change (Rogers, 1995). Each staff member may be in a different stage of acceptance during the implementation process. Acceptance stages, or what Roger’s called Adoption Categories include: innovators, early adopters, early majority adopters, late majority adopters, and laggards.

So while you are still working on getting departmental approval and funding, you can start engaging your team members in discussions about key topics such as oral feeding challenges, the current gaps in providing oral motor stimulation, and how you feel the NTrainer may help with that. Furthermore, you can anticipate who on your team may fall into the late majority adopters and laggards, and start educating them.

Once you finally have your NTrainer delivered, then all the change starts! Schedule your unit’s “Kick-off” with your local Clinical Specialist for unit-wide trainings and to build excitement. But remember, adoption of using a new device may take time as it moves through a unit’s unique culture and team members (Rogers, 1995). Recent research has proven that for adoption to occur the new technology must meet the adopter’s perceived attributes. Feedback from the large majority of our accounts has favorably agreed to these perceived attributes: a) the relative advantage and is it better than what it supersedes; b) the compatibility (e.g., does it fit with the values and needs of the unit), c) the complexity (e.g., is it difficult or easy to use); and d) the observability (e.g., are the outcomes visible) (Rossman et al., 2012).

Therefore, at the time of kick-off we suggest you preemptively schedule follow-up times with your team and Clinical Specialists to ask key questions. The list below are backed by decades of research in general innovation adoption:

We hope you continue to feel excited about bringing change into your unit. No matter what that change is, remember that getting your whole team on board with a new device/program/tool may take time, so doing this anticipatory work can greatly help your success, and ultimately the care provided to your patients. Specific to the NTrainer, our team is prepped and ready to help in any way we can! We are dedicated to improving the outcomes of patients and know the NTrainer can help!

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Click here for references.