Major technological changes have taken place in the recent past, with serious implications on organizations aligned to the health care system in the United States. Among the affected organizations have been the insurance companies, which have served to provide insurance cover to various categories of patients in the country. The changes have been geared towards making service provision more effective for the Americans as they seek health care services. One of the organizations within the sector that has undergone a major change in the recent past is UnitedHealthcare.
Description of the Organization and Change
UnitedHealthcare is one of the insurance companies in the United States operating under the managed care model. Hence, the company is among those affected by the changes within the managed care system in the recent past. In fact, to respond to the demands under the new model, the company has implemented technological changes in the system of administration and claims (UnitedHealthcare, 2016). The system has been implemented with the aim of streamlining the processes for the providers of health care in the country who provide services under the managed care system. The transition to the new system for the administrative and claims activities was set to begin on April 1, 2016 (UnitedHealthcare, 2016). The system would allow the use of a technological system, through which the health care organizations under the company would log in and access the necessary information of the clients. The company is responding to the demands under the Affordable Care Act, which necessitated universal health care coverage for the United States and the need to make health care more affordable for the Americans.
Degree of Disruptiveness and Response to Change Dynamics
The change is highly disruptive from the perspective of the need to change the entire system of operations from the current to a new one. In fact, this meant that if care was not taken, the change would disrupt the entire working of the company, and hence disrupt the services provided to clients and health care systems. With this in mind, the organization did not assume the change to the new system all at once. The management of the change was done such that the members under the insurance organization did not have the transition at the same time (UnitedHealthcare, 2016). The change was done in phases with a small group transitioning at a time, leaving the others to operate under the prevailing system. The transitioning was done according to the renewal date of the employer group, allowing for the different groups to transition at different times. In this approach, beginning from April 1, 2016, the last group will have transitioned by March 31, 2017.
Strategies Used in Planning the Change
For success in implementing change, something that is inevitable in the modern operating environment, it is critical for the leaders to devise effective strategies for implementing the change (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). The main strategic direction that was followed by the management of the organization was the environmental-adaptive strategy, which is founded on the assumption that people will be opposed to disruptive changes, but will readily adapt to the changes in their environment (Nickols, 2016). The management was effective in implementing the change by engaging the stakeholders in setting the objective, communicating the intended change, and explaining the need for the change. The organization was successful in communicating the change and engaging the stakeholders as evidenced in the support the leaders received in the implementation of the change. Evidence from research on the organization indicates that the organization is currently using the new system, which shows that the leaders were effective in the choice of the strategies used when planning the change.
Effects of Change to Stakeholders
There were different stakeholder groups that were directly affected by the process of change. The first group were the employees of the insurance company who would be engaged in implementing the change, from the acquisition of the new system to its adoption for use (UnitedHealthcare, 2016). The group was opposed to the change based on the possible changes to their working environment. The second group was the health care organizations that are members of the insurance company. Indeed, this was the group greatly opposed to the change into the new system. The change meant that the members would access information differently from how they were used to. It was critical to address the resistance to implement the change more successfully (Mitchell, 2013). The leaders addressed resistance by engaging representatives from the two groups planning and implementing the change. Also, when the change was done in phases, it allowed the stakeholders to be convinced that the change would actually work. At the end, the stakeholders backed up the change.
The Overall Implications on Interdepartmental Collaboration
Collaborative efforts are one of the key aspects to successful implementation of any change based on the importance of team working and using input from all the affected departments (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). The change would not have been successful if it was implemented within a single department. The change had major implications on interdepartmental collaboration because representatives from different departments had to come together and work towards effective planning and implementation of the change. Important information, skills, and resources had to come from various departments. Given the reality that the new system was technological, it was necessary for the information technology department to be engaged. Information would need to come from the records department to create the system. Generally, all other departments would be involved because they would be users of the system and failure to engage them would lead to resistance. The interdepartmental collaboration is the basis for success in the change to the new system.
Response of Leaders to the Change
Evidence from research indicates that effective preparation for change is the basis for its overall success (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). The leaders of UnitedHealthcare appear to have been prepared for the change as a reaction to the legislative demands for a more managed care model. Hence, the leaders knew that they needed to change from the current system to a more effective one. The leaders were prepared to keep at par with the requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The system implemented has been working on making the claims process more streamlined and faster since the information is easily accessible. With the phased change into the new system, there were members who would not access their ID from the new system. In fact, this is especially the case given the reality that the members were required to register their ID afresh. Before it is completely implemented, some members will have trouble accessing their information from the new system.
Recommendation for Modifications
While the leaders might have addressed resistance on the side of the employees, it might have failed to address the potential resistance from the member organization, the main users of the new system. Hence, to make the system more acceptable to the contributors and the users (healthcare organizations under the insurance), it would be more effective to educate them on the importance of the new system. The members might be opposed to the change in the managed care model, which is an important factor in their response to the new system. Greater participation and involvement is another important strategy that should be used by the organization in dealing with the possible resistance to change. Engaging the users in designing and implementing the new system would make it readily acceptable to them. Probably, even after evaluation of effectiveness in achieving the objectives, important information can be obtained on new strategies of making it more successful.
Changes within the healthcare system are as common as in other organizations, especially given the dynamic nature of the environment within which they operate. Changes are happening drastically in response to various transformations inherent in the environment. Among the main drivers of change is technological advancements and legislative dynamic that demand organizational changes. Among the organizations that are leading the change in the modern environment is UnitedHealthcare, one of the insurance companies in the US. The most recent and successful change in the organization has been the adoption of a new administrative and claims system. Resistance to change has been evident in the process, but the leaders have effectively worked to address them with a high level of success. In fact, the system has worked for the organization.
Kotter, P., & Cohen, D. S. (2002). The heart of change: Real-life stories of how people change their organizations. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press
Mitchell, G. (2013). Selecting the best theory to implement planned change: Improving the workplace requires staff to be involved and innovations to be maintained. Gary Mitchell discusses the theories that can help achieve this. Nursing Management, 20(1), 32-37.
Nickols, F. (2016). Four Strategies for Managing Change. Retrieved from www.nickols.us/four_strategies.pdf
UnitedHealthcare (2016). Summary of Changes – Beginning April 1, 2016: UnitedHealthcare of the River Valley. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjuj7rzztTTAhUrLcAKHVkuDsIQFggiMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.unitedhealthcareonline.com%2Fccmcontent%2FProviderII%2FUHC%2Fen-US%2FAssets%2FProviderStaticFiles%2FProviderStaticFilesPdf%2FTools%2520and%2520Resources%2FUnitedHealthcare_of_the_River_Valley_Summary_of_Changes.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGIMH0iit-OqglwWfkQ5JXZ4sjqug&sig2=zuIiPIzcuhoj88144modlA