Effective Communication: A Cornerstone for the Healthcare Industry
- October 4, 2023
- 10:39 am
The purpose of internal communication is to provide an effective flow of information between the company’s diverse departments. The communication flows freely or in order, both up and down the management, as well as left and right among employees.
While internal communications play a crucial role in every organization, they can act as an extreme challenge for some industries, such as healthcare, due to their diverse workforce and complex organizational structures. Despite being challenging, organizations need to adapt to an effective internal communications system. Strong internal communications ensure clarity, nurture the organization’s culture, and optimize operations.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of communication in healthcare settings, the challenges faced, tools for improvement, and tips for effective communication.
Importance of Communication in the Healthcare Industry
The diverse nature of this industry sets it apart from others. While other industries can make mistakes at times, this industry cannot afford one as it deals with lives. The communication strategies that work well elsewhere might fail in this industry.
Effective communication is paramount in the industry due to the following reasons:
• Compliance with Regulations: The employees need to stay updated with various federal and state regulations. Effective communication ensures that these compliances and regulations are shared with all and followed strictly.
• Unexpected Events: The world evolves rapidly. The recent Covid-19 incident left everyone in awe. It is essential to stay informed about such key developments in the industry, to take adequate steps at the right time.
• Prevent misunderstandings: Inadequate communications can easily lead to rumors and misinformation, which can damage employees’ morale and cause misunderstandings. Effective communication prevents such things from happening and ensures smooth operations.
• Patient Safety: The biggest challenge of this industry is that it faces life-or-death consequences. Clear communication is vital to prevent errors in such vital cases. It is the most important reason for having effective communication in this industry, as nothing is more serious than someone’s life.
• Clarifying Expectations: Effective communication ensures employees understand their roles and responsibilities.
• Aligning with Goals: Employees should grasp the organization’s vision, goals, and mission.
• Change management: ensures the successful implementation of organizational changes.
• Boosting Employee Engagement: Healthcare often suffers from low employee engagement levels, making effective communication essential to improving engagement.
• Emergency Response: Efficient communication during emergencies ensures a swift and appropriate response.
• Efficiency and Cost Reduction: Effective communication leads to improved efficiency, reduced operating costs, and enhanced collaboration.
• Collaboration and teamwork: improve internal collaboration and teamwork amongst the employees.
Challenges Faced During Internal Communication in the Healthcare Industry
The importance of communication cannot be understated. Nevertheless, healthcare internal communication faces unique barriers as compared to other industries due to the diverse nature of the workforce and the complex structures of healthcare institutions. With the latest developments in this space, the industry faces numerous challenges, such as:
• Diverse Workforce: The employees work in various departments and various roles during different hours of the day and night. It makes it complex to communicate effectively.
• Chaos: There are a lot of emergencies taking place every hour of the day. There are a tonne of distractions as well. All this could lead to chaos.
• Evolving Environment: The environment keeps evolving at a rapid pace. The dynamics keep changing, and offices evolve. A lot of people do not work in a traditional office environment, making it difficult to reach them.
• Outdated Systems: While the environment is evolving, the systems and technology are as well. It is essential to stay updated on technological advancements to ensure smooth communications.
• Cybersecurity: With the advent of advanced technologies, cyber risk is growing at a rapid pace and is a major concern for all industries.
• Simplifying Complex Information: Communicators must distill complex information for easy comprehension.
Tools to Improve Communication
Given these challenges, a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare communication won’t suffice. Using a combination of various traditional and digital tools can improve communication.
Traditional tools to improve communication:
• Emails: one of the most common modes of communication, connecting everyone online. Almost all organizations rely on this tool, even after all the latest technological advancements. It is considered the official mode of communication and is a must-have in all organizations.
• Newsletters: A regular newsletter can act as a great way to share highlight information, such as a weekly wrap, without sending a lot of emails.
• Team meetings: One of the most preferred modes of communication, as they help everyone in the team and promote collaboration and teamwork. is effective as the communication is done directly to the employees; everyone in the meeting will receive the same crystal-clear message without a chance of missing out on it.
• Intranet: A great tool to post important information or notices that everyone needs to be aware of. Although one should avoid overloading on information in the same,
• Notice boards: One of the most old-fashioned, tried-and-tested methods to keep everyone updated All important information and notices are posted on the bulletin boards in common areas, which everyone can access.
Digital tools to improve communication:
• Blogs: A great tool, a blog is a section of the website that can be visited, and blogs can be created using the internet.
• Video: a great visual tool to make communication easier to understand. It can be accessed anytime and helps clear misunderstandings.
• Pop-up alerts: sending timely pop-ups as reminders with important information to grab the employee’s attention. It is time-sensitive and a great tool to be used on shared computers.
• Digital signage: having the latest screens in the organization and playing related visuals with important information for the employees to view while passing by
• Applications: These days, people spend the majority of their time on phones. By making mobile-friendly apps, it makes them accessible to everyone, anytime, from anywhere. The same can be used to engage with the employees and send notifications to ensure efficient communication.
• Corporate Wallpaper: Capitalise on your own screen space for corporate initiatives.
• Instant Surveys: Gather feedback quickly with digital surveys. The same can be used for engagement-based polls and quizzes to interact with employees and build collaboration.
• Interactive Training Modules: Offer flexible employee training modules specifically designed to meet employees’ needs and promote growth.
• Instant Messengers: Facilitate quick communication among employees. This tool can save time and avoid spamming the inboxes. Great tool for quick clarifications when you can’t meet someone in person.
Tips for Effective Communication in Healthcare
After obtaining the right mix of tools to combat all communication challenges, here are some additional tips to level up your internal communications:
• Ensure management support: sound communication relies on the leaders, as a lot of communication flows downward. They must maintain an environment to promote effective communication.
• Noise reduction: as much noise and distraction as possible should be avoided and reduced to deliver important information timely and smoothly.
• Avoid overwhelming employees: The organization should not overload its employees with information, as it will overwhelm them and can lead to inefficiency at work and communication.
• Strategically planned: The information shared is crucial and time-sensitive; hence, the tools should be strategically chosen for optimal operations.
• Organised planning: Pre-planning your information can help you schedule the same at times and ensure smooth processes.
• Cover a wide range of topics: All information relating to the employees should be shared to help them stay updated and make informed decisions.
• Language: Ensure clear and accessible language in communications.
Recognizing the importance of communication within healthcare is crucial. Taking proactive steps to enhance internal communication will benefit healthcare organizations, employees, and patients alike.