Internal communications in the healthcare industry can be extremely challenging compared to other industries.
The diverse nature of the healthcare workforce and the unique structures of healthcare organizations mean that strategies for communicating with employees that work well elsewhere might not always work in this industry.
When you have staff who work in a range of different roles, at different hours day and night, and sometimes spread out in a number of locations, keeping everyone in the loop can seem complex. Especially given the chaotic nature of healthcare and all the distractions employees have.
Particular challenges are posed to internal healthcare communications when many staff do not work in a traditional office environment with their own desks and computers.
Keeping employees informed in this industry is crucial, however. Not only do they need to keep pace with various federal and state regulations that apply to healthcare, they need to know about developments in healthcare, disease outbreaks, policy and procedural changes and new initiatives.
Understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach to communicating in the healthcare industry is the cornerstone to successfully engaging employees.
Using a variety of communications channels will help to get your messages out there, even if it feels like you are repeating yourself. Like any successful marketing campaign, repetition can be the key to individuals retaining information.
Some internal communication ideas include:
Emails: Sending all-staff emails can ensure everyone is kept informed, however people tend to get email fatigue so these should be used strategically and sparingly.
Employee newsletters: Regular employee newsletters are a good way to send lots of information electronically without overwhelming staff with too many emails.
Team meetings: Quite often employees prefer to hear important information directly from their managers. Regular team meetings is a good way to keep everyone in the loop.
Intranet: The intranet is a good resource to post important information that everyone needs to know about.
Blogs: Use your intranet system to create blog posts where staff can share information.
Video: Creating videos that staff can watch at any time of the day or night can help to bridge the divide that comes with shift-work, which is often an issue for communication in the hospital.
Noticeboards: This old-fashioned method is tried and true. Bulletin boards in staff kitchens and meal areas, common rooms and so on are still likely to get the attention of employees who don’t work from a traditional desk.
Effective internal communications strategies in hospitals should not add unnecessary “noise” to employees and should deliver important information in a timely and succinct manner.
Employees shouldn’t be overwhelmed and overloaded with information. For example, if you need physicians to know about new protocols, don’t send the information to every single person who works for the hospital.
Remember that the information being passed on internally is both critical and time-sensitive, so the channels of communication you choose to distribute your message must be efficient, and also kept unclogged.