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10 Ways to Use Text Messaging for Healthcare Staff Communications

While most of our healthcare clients use the Dialog Health text messaging system for patient/member-facing two-way texting, you might be surprised to learn that more than half also use it to communicate with their staff. And the general sentiment from these clients is that they cannot imagine giving up the ability to text with employees. Many tell us that they find communicating with staff as challenging as communicating with patients and family members. But with texting, communication is simplified, streamlined, and, more importantly, successful.

Wondering how you could use two-way text messaging to communicate and better engage with your team? Here are 10 of the ways our clients are currently texting to support employee communications.

1. Emergency alerts. There is no faster or more effective mechanism to quickly inform staff about an emergency than text messaging. Texting is playing a pivotal role in many organizations' crisis communication plans.

2. COVID-19 developments. We're approaching a year into the pandemic and clients continue to leverage text messaging to communicate with staff about COVID-19-related matters. More recently, texts have often shared information about vaccine availability, distribution, and scheduling appointments.

We've also been pleased see texting help organizations avoid wasting doses. In instances where clients have found themselves with extra doses following completion of scheduled vaccinations, text messaging has helped them quickly find and schedule additional eligible people recipients.

3. Mass/group alerts. In a similar vein as emergency alerts, clients are using text messaging when they need to provide a timely update or make a time-sensitive request of their staff. Recent examples include informing staff of business closure due to weather, a positive COVID-19 result that necessitated staff undergo tests, and arrival of surveyors.

4. Support services. The pandemic has had significant, measurable effects on mental health and wellness of healthcare workers. Clients are using text messaging to inform and remind their staff about available support services and resources — those available within and outside of their organizations.

5. Emotional support. We have been encouraging our clients to use texting as a way of more personally supporting staff during these difficult times. In August, we drew attention to how one client — Lovelace Health System — was sharing periodic uplifting messages and inspirational quotes with staff. As Serena Pettes, Lovelace's vice president of marketing and business development, told us: "Sending texts to our employees via the Dialog Health platform during COVID-19 has been an easy, quick, and effective way to provide support, encouragement, and guidance during a challenging time."

6. Health and wellness initiatives. Many regularly scheduled health and wellness initiatives were postponed due to the pandemic and efforts around maintaining social distancing and reducing grouping of staff. Organizations are starting to resume these initiatives and doing so with more safety precautions now in place. Texting is being used to inform staff about the resumption of initiatives and coordinate and stagger staff participation to support enhanced safety efforts.

7. Positive news. We can all use more positive news these days. Our clients are using text messaging to share positive news with staff. Examples include the arrival of vaccines, organization milestones and recognitions (e.g., "named a best place to work"), employee milestones and recognitions (e.g., "celebrating 25 years with us"), new leadership hires, and noteworthy patient discharges (e.g., successful battles with COVID-19).

8. Surveys. Two-way texting allows the recipient of the text to respond with their own text message. Clients are putting that functionality to good use by periodically surveying staff. Recent survey topics have covered availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), comfort with new policies and procedures, and feedback on new initiatives.

9. New employee processes. A practical year-round usage, human resources departments are using text messaging to support new hires. This includes sending links to an onboarding checklist and educational materials, reminders about training sessions, information about required paperwork, and surveys about comfort with and questions concerning onboarding progress and training materials. Some clients are surveying new staff at regular intervals (e.g., 30, 60, 90 days) to improve retention and the onboarding experience.

10. Health benefits. While the benefits enrollment period has passed for most organizations, we're seeing clients using text messaging to periodically remind staff about the benefits available to them (including the aforementioned mental health support services and availability of telehealth services) and share links staff can access with information about benefits and frequently asked questions. These texts encourage staff to use available benefits, which contributes to staff wellness and satisfaction.

Adding Text Messaging for Healthcare Employee Communications

These are just 10 of the ways Dialog Health clients are using text messaging to communicate and engage with their staff more effectively. If you think your organization could benefit from using two-way texting at an enterprise level, reach out and schedule a demo of the Dialog Health platform.

Adding text messaging is easy and fast. And it may be the staff communication and engagement tool you didn't realize you've been missing.



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