Fifth part in a five-part series
This post is the final in our series examining the importance and value of a text messaging platform's scalability across a healthcare organization's entire enterprise. By using texting in this manner, patients receive timely information from the personnel and departments supporting them during their care journey while the healthcare organization improves its clinical, operational, and financial performance.
This series covers the following stages in the journey:
6 Staff Communication Uses and Benefits
In this fifth and final part in a five-part series, we discuss six of the ways text messaging effectively supports internal staff communications.
The pandemic has served as yet another reminder about the need for business resilience planning and importance of an effective emergency communication channel to support a resilience program and its efforts. Texting has proven to be a fast and efficient means of keeping personnel current on expectations. It is also valuable when an organization must quickly inform staff of a significant development affecting operations, such as a team member testing positive for COVID-19. Additional examples of ways text messaging supports emergency communication include announcing facility closures and delays in opening; natural disasters; and man-made incidents, including cyberattacks.
2. Mass/group announcements
Emergencies aren't the only instance when a time-sensitive mass or group announcement may prove useful. Healthcare organizations can use mass/group text messaging to inform and remind staff about a wide range of topics, including:
changes to policies and procedures;
road and mass transit closures/delays that may affect commutes;
building construction that may affect parking and entering/exiting the building;
scheduling gaps that must be filled;
revised hours of operation;
new staff arrival procedures;
updated staff schedules;
changes to caregiver and vendor visit protocols; and
company initiatives (e.g., blood drive, milestone celebration).
3. Open enrollment and insurance
Automating a series of texts that go out before open enrollment begins and continue throughout the enrollment period — providing everything from deadlines to reminders to links for resources to surveys about the enrollment process — is a simple way to increase engagement during and participation in open enrollment.
Many organizations also use automated text campaigns to drive engagement with sponsored health and wellness initiatives. Texting can provide staff with timely information and answers to frequently asked questions concerning their sponsored health insurance. This can cover topics such as the option to fund a health savings account, availability of mental health services and alternative therapies, where personnel and covered family members can go to receive COVID-19 tests and vaccines/boosters, and options for telehealth.
Texting has proven to have a higher engagement rate than other communication methods, and this extends to surveys. Healthcare organizations can conduct surveys via two-way texts, asking personnel to reply to questions via text, or provide links within text messages that direct staff to online survey forms. Possible topics for staff surveys: comfort with new policies and procedures, feedback on initiatives, communication effectiveness, availability of physical and educational resources, and surveying new staff at regular intervals to improve the onboarding experience and retention.
Targeted pulse surveys can also help organizations address issues or concerns before they become bigger problems, identify areas in need of improvement, and ultimately help drive changes that can enhance staff satisfaction, productivity, and retention. When personnel experience a communication gap with leadership, an organization runs the risk that staff will come up with their own narrative about internal and external priorities and problems.
5. New employee processes
Human resources departments can leverage texting in many ways to support their new hires. This includes sending reminders about training sessions, information about paperwork, and links to educational materials. Organizations can also survey new staff about their comfort with and questions concerning the onboarding progress and training. Surveying new hires at regular intervals (e.g., every 30 days for three months) can help improve retention and identify opportunities to strengthen the onboarding experience.
6. Improving staff morale
As essential as it is for organizations to keep their staff informed about changes to the work schedule, policies and procedures, and other developments that affect operations, one could argue that it's just as important for organization leadership and managers to remind staff that their work and dedication to patient care is noticed and appreciated. Organizations can send emotional and inspirational support texts to personnel to provide a lift to staff members' mental health. The benefits of a message of appreciation can make a significant difference in personnel morale while also boosting productivity.
Consider that New Mexico's Lovelace Health System sent thousands of text messages to staff early in the COVID-19 pandemic. While these messages covered a range of topics, including changes to protocols, safety practice reminders, and information concerning the system's employee assistance program, many uplifting messages and inspirational quotes were sent as well. Concerning this initiative, Serena Pettes, vice president of marketing and business development for the health system, stated, "Sending texts to our employees … during COVID-19 has been an easy, quick, and effective way to provide support, encouragement, and guidance during a challenging time."
Texting to Support the Entire Healthcare Enterprise
This concludes our series on the value of using text messaging across a healthcare organization's entire enterprise. If you are interested in improving your organization's communications across its enterprise, schedule a demo of Dialog Health. We'll show you how our platform works and tell you about some of the many ways clients nationwide are using our two-way, HIPAA-compliant texting platform to improve patient and employee engagement while increasing staff productivity and strengthening the bottom line.