In a recent article, “Too good to be forgotten - why institutional memory matters” by Phil Tinline and published by the BBC, the author discusses serious risks many organizations face due to increasing staff turnover rates. Due to the fact that employees and affiliates switch jobs quickly, organizations in both private and public sectors, increasingly face (what the author calls) “corporate amnesia” – or the inability to retain and preserve knowledge within the organization.
While short term outsourcing can help with immediate staffing needs caused be staff turnover, the hidden cost and risks of “losing an organization’s memory” are staggering. The author cites an example of the 2010 explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig that caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest offshore spill in U.S history. The horrifying part about this incident is that five years earlier another explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery had similar root causes. If those were studied, documented, shared, communicated, and properly proceduralized amongst the workforce, the disaster in 2010 could have prevented.
Today’s hospitals are not immune to “corporate amnesia” resulting from staff turnover. While a majority of clinical and operational procedures in hospitals are well documented, since they are highly regulated by various government agencies and accreditation bodies, there are other types of “knowledge” and “information” that are not necessarily documented and are at risk to be lost when an employee leaves a hospital. Examples include: best practices for managing compliance efforts and resources, detailed information on vendors and associates the hospital does business with, IT systems configuration and support best practices, administrative workflows, and many others.
While it is impossible to document and keep documentation current on all aspects of ever-changing hospital operations, using an Intranet as a daily communication tool can assist in retaining critical knowledge. Not only do Intranets provide easy access to all information across all hospital areas of operations, but also, Intranets allow and encourage staff across all departments to effectively participate in ongoing publishing of relevant content. In other words, a hospital’s Intranet can serve as a social network for a hospital’s internal affairs. The saying “What happens in Vegas stays on Facebook forever” can truly have a positive meaning if your organization starts viewing your Intranet as your internal communication tool.
The list of possibilities for the use of an Intranet for knowledge management in hospitals is endless. Here are some examples we hope will help you kick-off your knowledge management and retention initiatives using your Intranet system:
- Publish employee forums for any important topics of hospitals operations.
A forum allows everyone to chime in and share their valuable feedback with others. This type of knowledge doesn’t get erased when staff leaves an organization. Some examples could include:
-Compliance best practices forums
-New staff onboarding questions and answers
-Ransomware attacks and virus prevention forum
-Best practices for using your EMR system
- Share FAQ’s on your departmental pages.
This may include facilities department’s FAQs for fire safety equipment use, housekeeping FAQs for room cleaning procedures, or IT FAQs on keeping your computer safe.
- Start writing internal blogs.
These could be leadership blogs, departmental blogs, clinical blogs, etc.
- Enable comments on your announcements and listings.
Comments allow employees to get involved, engaged and learn from each other creating a two-communication platform for direct interactions and staff engagement.
- Enable user profiles.
Encourage your staff to publish important information about themselves. This can include languages spoken (in an event you need to communicate with a non-English speaking patient), special skills (in case you are looking for someone with a rare technical or clinical expertise), etc.
- Build searchable directories for departmental and organization resources.
This may include vendor directories, directories of providers, emergency vendor directories, etc.
- Create and publish procedures and checklists for tasks your departmental staff work on daily.
These will become critical if staff leave the organization, and they can come in handy when someone needs to fill in for an employee that is sick or temporarily absent. They also make onboarding a new hire more seamless as you now have references to departmental tasks.
- Store current and past revisions of policies.
Use your Intranet-based online policy and procedure management system not only to publish the most recent version of policies, but also to store previous revisions, approval notes and summaries of changes.
To learn more about how an Intranet can help your organization build a repository of information that can outlast an employee’s tenure, help onboard new staff, or address specific needs that you have, please view our webinar library or register for one of our demos here.