When it comes to staff communication, hospitals have a unique challenge because employees are spread
throughout different buildings, units and shifts. This makes effective engagement a difficult feat, since certain staff members may rarely cross paths with administrators or other departments. This challenge is apparent in all different sizes of healthcare facilities, from small, rural hospitals to larger health systems, ASCs and long-term care organizations.
Although healthcare organizations typically have multiple means of communication, if these means are outdated or inefficient, it can cause certain members of the staff to miss important information. Here are some of the challenges we’ve seen with the organizations we’ve worked with:
Manual Paper Processes: Access to forms can be a struggle, especially when everything is done manually. Updating, printing out, approving and re-uploading or distributing can become disorganized. Forms have a possibility to get lost in the shuffle, and staff has no way of knowing where things are at in the process.
Shared Drives: Most hospitals we have worked with use Shared Drives, and most find them inefficient and challenging to use. Things become disorganized and complicated when employees cannot find what they are looking for, links break, information is not kept orderly, etc.
Home Grown Intranet: We have seen multiple home grown Intranets, which are typically a collection of hyperlinks. This method has many limitations and usually does not include a search function, quick communication system or electronic workflow.
Moving forward from the challenges from the solutions – how can these outdated communication methods be updated? In a nutshell, the answer is an Intranet. An Intranet provides a one-stop-shop for information, hospital policy management, and communication. Through an Intranet, you can submit information to everybody in the system, but also tailor content or send specific content only to certain groups. It contains powerful workflow tools that create a smooth flow of tasks and scheduling.
Here is a closer look at what an Intranet has to offer and 5 ways it can help you update any outdated communication vehicles for improved engagement between staff members and hospital policy management:
Centralized Communications: The Intranet serves as your central means of communication for all staff members. It’s the first thing they will go to when they begin their shift, and they’ll use it throughout the day for all functions. Utilize the newsfeed on the home page to post any crucial updates, employee reminders or hospital happenings. Staff also has access to a phone directory that allows them to search who they need along with information as to where they are, when they work and contact. Keep a page to update menu changes, and use a search function to locate different documents and see where they are at in the process of updates and approval.
Decentralize Content Management: Don’t just post everything on the newsfeed – this will make for a jumble of information similar to a shared drive or home grown Intranet. Keep the newsfeed for daily news and updates. Organize departments and functions by giving them their own page or sections on the Intranet. This provides clarity and order, and allows employees to filter and navigate through the content they truly need. Some examples of different pages include Human Resources, Nursing, and Emergency Preparedness.
Leverage Technology: The Intranet’s powerful workflow functions allow you to create detailed and easily-laid out and accessible emergency preparedness plans. Keep employees up to speed on policies and procedures by creating and distributing mandatory quizzes that staff members can take on and submit through the Intranet. Use scheduling tools to schedule certain rooms and times for trainings or meetings. Additionally, utilize a document management section to organize policies and procedures, contacts and forms. Keep track of where they are at in the process with read acknowledgement forms.
Evolve: Give all or certain employees ability to add information to the newsfeed. Allow staff to create their own groups or forums per department or with multiple departments. Set up a “hot news” function that alerts employees right away to pertinent information.
Take it to the Next Level: An Intranet contains many technological functions made simple, making life easier for your IT department. Quickly and easily set up which information goes to which departments or groups of employees. Keep track of patient visits, information and census boards. See the true impact of the Intranet with the ability to analyze metrics and measure usage and employee engagement.