One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry is ensuring every stakeholder — from the staff to the executive team to patients and their families — has access to the latest information at any given moment. In the best of times, healthcare companies have to communicate a lot of sensitive information and changes to clients in a way that builds trust, shows empathy, and reflects a high standard of care. These may include federal, state, or local regulations, brochures on new medical procedures offered at certain locations, notifications of physician departures, and individual updates like care plan details, explanations of benefits or claims status, or medical bills.
During COVID-19, these updates are coming even more frequently as local and state orders dictate individual clinic availability, as leadership teams adjust safety precautions and check-in policies, and as testing and vaccination information evolves on a daily basis. Customers and potential customers have never had more questions — all of which need to be communicated in a consistent matter, both externally to patients (and their families), as well as to internal staff - and the answers are moving targets. For example:
- As hospital capacities have fluctuated in many states during the COVID-19 pandemic, elective surgeries have been cancelled or reinstated based on bed availability and virus-related hospitalization forecasts.
- Testing and vaccine availability and scheduling procedures have varied significantly from week to week (sometimes day to day), so it’s been difficult to give consumers (and providers) clarity on who is eligible, where to find testing and vaccines, and how to register for them.
In the face of these kinds of changes, which have caused significant confusion for industry professionals and consumers alike, good customer care starts with strong, efficient internal communication tools that ensure everyone from the front desk to the CEO is fully informed and able to communicate the latest message, both internally and externally. And to make matters more complicated, the methods of distributing this information — both internally and externally — have changed as both in-office staff and in-person client interactions are limited for safety.
To Keep Everyone Up to Date, Centralize Internal Communications
Healthcare systems need a foolproof way to keep their employees up to date on the latest news and changes so that they can keep patients and customers up to date, as well — during COVID-19 and beyond. The most effective way to do so is to create a centralized, accessible-from-anywhere hub for all internal communications and updates.
This “command center” will make critical information and updates available to employees 24/7, whether they’re on site, at home, or en route, providing them with the details they need to know — and any assets they’ll need to quickly and accurately pass the message on to patients and the community. And in a time of crisis such as COVID-19, when the updates are coming in fast and furious, a specific “area” of the hub can contain all crisis-related communications, content, and assets to ensure they don’t get lost in the everyday shuffle.
The result of keeping all this information front and center? A seamless patient experience. We know patients expect personalized, consistent, multichannel communication from the healthcare organizations they use, and those expectations only grow in times of uncertainty, when they look to their healthcare providers for clarity and stability. But internal teams can only provide that clarity and stability if they have the access they need, first. Once they do, they can customize and localize the preapproved messaging, print or order brochures, flyers, and signage, and create social media updates to pass what they know on to their communities.
OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform is a powerful internal tool to keep employees and leaders up to date as they adapt to changes in the healthcare industry, whether related to COVID or not. Keeping departments, clinic locations, physician liaisons, and other internal stakeholders up to speed on changes — and providing them access to the latest approved messaging —ensures that on-the-ground staff can keep patients and their families fully in the know. Learn more about how OneTouchPoint is empowering healthcare communication here.