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How WebEOC Administrators Can Bridge the Technology Adoption Gap


In the previous post Addressing the Need to Cultivate Technology Adoption within Emergency Preparedness, we discussed where administrators face problems with users’ adoption of technology. We also outlined strategies to increase user adoption and speed up that process.

As we recognize that administrators of emergency management technologies often face challenges with various users, we can also acknowledge that managing the adoption of WebEOC is no different.

The Decision Process

In the previous post, we discussed the process agencies go through when deciding to use an emergency management technology. Even though your agency has purchased WebEOC as its emergency preparedness technology, WebEOC Administrators are still stuck in the first two stages of the decision process as they raise awareness of the solution and persuade people to use it. Demonstrating the different uses of WebEOC and setting up end-user training can help raise awareness through your agency and prove the solution’s value. The same issue can still remain: persuading end users to adopt this solution. This post highlights important topics and strategies that WebEOC Administrators can use to convince others to adopt WebEOC.

Characteristics of Software Solutions that Impact Adoption Rates

It is important to avoid gauging the success of a WebEOC implementation on whether an agency has 100% buy-in, or even a majority of users’ buy-in, as it may take years to achieve, regardless of the perceived usefulness of the solution, according to Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers. While WebEOC processes offer a great deal of potential value, they can still take years to be fully adopted.

According to Everett M. Rogers (Diffusion of Innovations), research shows that users’ pre-existing attitudes and personal outlooks on potential software solutions place them in one of five categories–innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, or laggards–and there is no sales pitch that will cause an individual to change categories. For example, it is not possible to move a laggard into the early adopter category with a convincing argument or through extensive user training.

Instead, administrators should present the software solution in a manner that appeals to each of the population segments. As we learned from the previous post, some stakeholders are more concerned with budget, while others need the solution to be easy to use, and yet other stakeholders are simply motivated to set a new trend. Therefore, it is possible administrators will need to take a different approach for each segment of the end-user community.

While we already discussed the characteristics of software that influence the adoption rate in the previous post, it’s also important to identify a couple models that can help administrators generate talking points that focus on the interests of the end-user community. In this way, we can influence their opinions on the technology.

Technology Acceptance Models

WebEOC Administrators can use technology acceptance models to develop a marketable WebEOC solution, because models call for identifying factors that determine whether an individual will be compelled to use a software solution. Models exist for different phases of adoption and are focused on changing people’s attitude towards the innovation (such as a new WebEOC board or process). WebEOC Administrators can use these models to identify key talking points during product demonstrations, user group meetings and training sessions.

Building a WebEOC configuration that addresses the determinants identified by a technology acceptance model and developing messages that highlight this fact will have a direct and positive impact on influencing the decision to use WebEOC. Many technology acceptance models exist. Below are two examples; one addresses the early phases of adoption and the other the late phases of adoption.

Pre/Early Phases of Adoption

Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology

In this theory, determinants leading to the intent to use/adopt WebEOC include the following:

  • Performance Expectancy: Does it satisfy an operational need?
  • Effort Expectancy: Is it easy to use?
  • Social Influence: Do my peers and/or supervisors think I should use it?
  • Facilitating Conditions: Have I received training and do I have the required equipment?

It’s crucial to note that each determinant is equally important. Too often, WebEOC Administrators focus on performance expectancy and ignore the other three determinants.

Late/Post Adoption Phases

Expectation Confirmation Model

The Expectation Confirmation Model is based primarily on the users’ expectations and their subjective interpretation of the perceived usefulness of a software solution. As such, it seeks to identify a user’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and ultimately whether they intend to continue using the tool. Satisfaction, of course, is the best possible outcome and will likely promote continued use of WebEOC, whereas dissatisfaction will likely lead to discontinued use of the tool. Monitoring the late stages of adoption is critical to ensuring the WebEOC platform evolves appropriately, based on end-user preferences.

The challenge of increasing user adoption is shared by many, if not all, WebEOC Administrators. Targeting your message to your audience based on how it could benefit their position will only aid your efforts in bridging the adoption gap.

You should now have a solid understanding of the challenge of cultivating buy-in for a WebEOC implementation, the importance of overcoming the challenge and strategies for doing so.

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