We read it everywhere: the care provider is overloaded and more and more care has to be provided with fewer and fewer people. We are heading for what is already called a ‘care infarction’. Sooner or later we will all have to deal with a care question, so it is important for everyone that we find a solution for this. If you work in a healthcare institution as a communication professional, you can contribute to this!
IT can help healthcare move forward, but that is not enough
Healthcare must be smarter and faster if we want to tackle the problems. Digital solutions go there make a major contribution. We have all experienced that during the pandemic, much more could suddenly be done remotely, including appointments with a doctor or nurse. There are also many smart apps that monitor patient values remotely (telemonitoring). And the number of digital innovations is only going to grow. The IT department therefore offers many opportunities to move healthcare forward.
But we see that the IT department regularly fails to meet what the healthcare sector really needs. In many healthcare organizations you hear that IT does not understand what healthcare needs. Many care providers feel that they are not heard, or that they are not involved in the development of yet another new application or a new version of the ECD/EPD. In addition, many of them are sometimes disappointed by faltering or outdated programs. IT appears to be far removed from the daily practice of a healthcare provider.
A gap between healthcare and IT
That is not surprising, because their activities and focus are far apart: care providers focus on the patient, are often on the road all day (inside or outside the location). Digital resources should help them with their work, but they are not really concerned with it. The focus of the IT specialist is of course very different, and the department is also regularly located in a different place than where the care is provided. So there is literally a gulf between these two professions.
This distance or gap between healthcare and IT inhibits the digital development and innovative strength of healthcare. Without this important connection, we all run the risk that the use of technology as one of the most important solutions to the problems in healthcare will not be successful. It is therefore important that the gap is closed, and you as a communication expert play an indispensable role in this!
Communication plays an important role in healthcare
From your communication expertise you have a number of important keys to ensure that digital progress is better aligned with healthcare, and will really help it move forward. Three key areas of focus will help you make the next engineering project a success for the employee:
1. Put the employee at the center for a suitable solution
It should not be about a tool, but about what it adds to care. You can help your IT colleague not to reason from the point of view of technology, but from the point of view of the healthcare worker: do not talk about tools or applications, but about what someone can do with them. To do this, you must know the practice and be in dialogue with the user group.
Facilitate sessions where you bring the different target groups from the house together with IT to talk about opportunities and bottlenecks they experience, collect these as input for IT. You can only be relevant to this target group by really listening. From a communication point of view, you have the skills to make this translation.
Tips: find the care employee where they already meet. Walk past the coffee rooms, or go to the clothing distribution point and ask a few short questions. This way you have direct relevant contact!
2. Support the change
If IT delivers something new, the fact that it is on is not enough. Then nothing happens. Whoever has to work with them must be included in this new application in order to use it successfully, otherwise they will continue to work as they already did and nothing will be achieved.
Often more than just a system or tool changes. A number of actions will probably also change, or a different mindset will have to be introduced. IT cannot oversee this alone; you can also contribute to this with your communication expertise. What is the overall impact for the employee?
You support the change by cleverly combining a number of communication moments with the use of sponsors and ambassadors, and a number of training elements. You can use the model for this Prosci for use, or any other change model. It is important that you pay sufficient attention to the individual employee.
3. Test whether the solution is successful
As a communication professional, you may not be used to measuring, but measuring can give you a great deal of insight into how much you actually contribute to improving healthcare. You can start by measuring the reach of the resources you deploy.
- Is the most important news read?
- Does everyone understand the core message?
- Can you find the way to the frequently asked questions?
Another more important indicator of the success of the new application is whether employees are happy with it. You need to measure this to know if you are on the right track.
Tip: via existing communication channels (intranet, newsletters) you can set up short polls or questionnaires to collect this feedback. Or you come up with something fun! I myself have sometimes placed a red and a green laundry basket at the place where the company clothing was handed in. Red for ‘not happy’ and green for ‘quite happy’. If I wasn’t happy, I asked a few more short questions so that I could get a good idea of what wasn’t going well, so that we could pick it up again.
Direct contact and a feedback option give the feeling of involvement and thus nurture confidence in the tool or application.
Start tomorrow for better care!
Communication professionals have a lot of in-house knowledge to bring IT and healthcare closer together. Use your expertise, and you will help the healthcare sector move forward! You can start tomorrow with these three things:
- Together with an IT colleague, spend a day working at a place between healthcare
- Correct your colleagues if they accidentally keep talking in technical terms
- Find out how and where you can best reach your healthcare colleagues
- Try to do a first measurement in an accessible way
I would love to hear from you if you have applied any of these tips, and would also like to join the conversation to share my experience guiding changes in healthcare!
Source: Frankwatching by www.frankwatching.com.
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