Within a large healthcare organization, effective internal communication between providers, supervisors, and administrators can be a complicated process. Different departments, shifts, and schedules can prohibit members from engaging with each other on a day-to-day basis, despite the importance of collaboration within an organization. Especially within healthcare, where the focus of communication strategies is on external communication with clients, internal communication can easily fall through the cracks.
Internal communication strategies are rapidly changing; research has shown that organizational communication in which dialogue occurs between all members, rather than one-sided communications from a supervisor or administrator, is becoming increasingly common. Therefore, internal communication strategies should allow members to be an active part of the discussion to allow space for feedback, brainstorming, and the sharing of ideas.
Creating an effective internal communication strategy is crucial to creating a productive and positive environment within your healthcare practice. Here are our top tips for facilitating effective internal communication strategies in your practice:
1. Have regular team meetings
Having regular team meetings ensures that your team is creating effective internal communication and is taking the time for necessary discussions and clarifications. While these meetings are essential to the productivity of your organization, they should not take away time from patient care. Prior to the meeting, plan out your topics or send out an agenda, so that the meeting is structured, rather than free form. This will keep meetings to a regular amount of time (1 hour) that can be incorporated easily into providers’ schedules each week.
Aside from going over announcements at meetings, it may be a good idea to structure in time for providers to talk through any challenges they faced recently. For example, include time for “Case Reviews,” so that practitioners can provide peer support and feedback for certain cases. Taking the time to work through these difficult cases will be beneficial not only for the provider and patient but to the team as a whole.
Team meetings in which members had “functional interaction,” i.e. problem solving and action planning, have been shown to increase member satisfaction, team productivity, and long-term organizational success. Likewise, hear out any challenges team members are having with workflows. Other providers may be having the same issues, and it will give the team a chance to discuss ways to optimize provider productivity and processes.
Conclude your meeting by delegating action items, if any are necessary. Communicating clearly what needs to be done in-between each session ensures projects and tasks are completed in a timely fashion for review at the next meeting.
2. Use an internal team messaging platform
Creating an internal team messaging system is crucial for necessary communicating during the typical workday, but in-between whole team meetings. There may be tasks or projects that need collaboration or input from other providers at times when an in-person meeting is not a possibility. Real-time peer support and connection is invaluable, especially if your team has many practitioners that work different or opposite shifts, or even practice virtually. Internal messaging is also useful for spreading organization-wide announcements.
Be sure to use a team messaging platform external to texting or email; this will ensure that important information does not fall through the cracks and helps set work-life boundaries. Choosing a platform that offers HIPAA-compliant chat is an important consideration for healthcare teams.
3. Use a centralized platform to coordinate care
For healthcare systems with a multitude of patients, it is important to incorporate a system-wide and cloud-based EHR into your organization. The appropriate EHR will allow you to share chart notes for clients, as well as store paperwork and assessments. This is especially helpful when a client undergoes care by multiple providers in an organization, like a dietitian, primary care physician, and a specialty care doctor.
Having access to the full scope of information allows each practitioner to make the most informed treatment decisions, and ensures that the whole patient is treated. It’s also helpful when a colleague is out of the office due to maternity leave, illness, or leave of absence, and their clients are in need of coverage. This allows for seamless continuity of care for the client.
Implementing an EHR has also been shown to positively impact an organization and its members. Research has demonstrated that hospitals with EHR systems in place had a higher level of operational performance and increased provider satisfaction with their current practice and overall career. Whether your team is part of a larger health system, a clinic, or a smaller group practice, having shared access to documentation is an essential step for streamlining communication and client care.
4. Outline clear responsibilities and tasks
To avoid miscommunication within your practice, it’s key to make sure all responsibilities, large and small are clear. This includes not only large projects but also simple day-to-day tasks. Having clarity on a task decreases stress and increases well-being at work, making it easier for providers to complete projects properly and quickly.
Research has shown that workers are 20% more productive when their tasks are visually displayed. Using a task management system in which supervisors can assign and organize tasks where organization members can actually see their to-do list will, rather than being told verbally, will allow tasks to stay top-of-mind and motivate providers to utilize their time efficiently throughout the workday.
Implementing a task-management system within your team will not only add to productivity but eliminate any frustrations or lags in time for tasks to be completed. The right platform allows administrators to diligently keep track of who is assigned which task and the status of the task, eliminating unnecessary follow-up work — saving your business time and money.
Using Healthie for Effective Internal Communication
Healthie’s multi-provider capabilities enable group practices and organizations to share resources, collaborate across clients, and maintain custom permissions surrounding core business needs. Always secure and HIPAA-compliant, Healthie allows teams to streamline operations, promote cross-collaboration, and offer coordinated care to clients. With cloud-based access, all members of the team can access their account from any device, at any time — including on-the-go with Healthie’s convenient mobile app for practitioners.
Healthie’s features support modern and secure team communication, including:
HIPAA-compliant messaging platform can be used to communicate with clients, and also internally amongst team members. This allows practitioners to discuss operations or client care in a secure way, and in real-time.
Healthie Tasks not only allows each team member to individually maintain a task list but also lets administrators and supervisors assign tasks to other organization members. Our internal task management feature eliminates the need for email requests and time spent following up with providers to ensure a task is completed.
The Tasks feature makes it clear which tasks are pending, their priority level, who the task is assigned to, and if there is a client associated with the task. For tasks associated with a client, practitioners will see the task within the client’s profile and can mark it as “done” when completed, no follow-up required.
Centralized EHR platform stores all client documents and chart notes within the organization account, for members to access. Within the platform, supervisors can set extensive administrative permissions, indicating what information within the EHR each member of the organization can access, view or edit. Team members can quickly review shared client notes and documents, add new charting notes, and leave quick-notes for fellow team members to review.
With a cloud-based EHR platform in place alongside other key team communication capabilities, multi-provider organizations can streamline communications and increase productivity.
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