Using a Hospital Intranet to Support and Connect Outpatient Services
Amid rampant reimbursement struggles, more and more hospitals are opting to expand outpatient services. A broad array of services and clinics including outpatient medical centers with everything but inpatient beds are springing up in locations around the U.S., rural, suburban, and urban.
Given this trend, hospitals must go beyond improving communication with staff within their physical footprint to finding ways to keep ancillary locations truly connected. Finding ways to connect staff in different specialties, locations, shifts, and roles is no small task. Shrewd use of a healthcare organization’s intranet can fit the bill quite nicely. The question is what specific content can be published to help accomplish this?
One item that immediately comes to mind is forms, both printable and automated. I don’t think I have worked with a single organization that doesn’t struggle with ensuring staff is always using the then-current form, in many cases for hundreds of different forms across a health system. An ironic but common challenge in publishing printable forms to remote staff is their tendancy to print and stockpile them, often resulting in forms that are out of date by the time they are used. In many cases, converting printed forms to electronic fillable forms with workflow not only alleviates this concern, but also improves the efficiency of the process and eliminates loss between point A and point B.
Another type of content that is high among priorities for communicating with outpatient staff is HR content. Because many outpatient staff are remote, the incovenience of not having this type of content available electronically is magnified. Providing everything from benefits forms and information to policies and procedures and internal job postings helps keep staff as efficient as they can be.
Next, marketing! That’s right, marketing. Marketing to an internal audience is an often overlooked task, which is unfortunate. Physicians and nurses are often the conduit of information about new services, community class offerings, and more. Making sure they are aware of services and events the hospital wants to promote can dramatically improve the numbers of patients getting the message.
Last but not least, news and announcements. Ideally these go beyond announcements about food drives and employee anniversaries, although those items can be engaging. When making announcements, be sure to include inviting photos to draw staff in. Feature stories highlighting staff, patients, or both are a great way to encourage staff to take pride in their workplace. Weekly or monthly feature highlights that focus on a department or location help connect staff in different locations.
Certainly, there are many other content publishing options to engage and inspire remote staff. What content is your healthcare organization publishing that has been successful?