Lately, it seems increasing numbers of healthcare organizations are abiding by the "bigger is better" philosophy. Inpatient revenue has fallen by 18 percent since 1994, according to Deloitte, causing hospitals and health systems to seek additional revenue streams through expansion, merger, or acquisition.
Many healthcare organizations are finding that scaling has become imperative to remaining competitive, but they are also discovering that this growth comes with a cost. The price, unfortunately, is often the loss of a personalized organizational culture that emphasizes communication and collaboration.
The answer to creating a more personalized and connected company culture — one that will lead to better patient care and higher employee morale — is two-fold. Improving company culture in healthcare organizations requires adopting a humanizing perspective and focusing on building relationships, as well as incorporating technology that helps your organization become more productive and connected.
For doctors, nurses, technicians, and administrative staff to connect effectively, they must be able to easily access and use communication technologies and other collaboration tools. With such technologies in place, employees can communicate anywhere, anytime, and through their preferred channel, whether that be mobile, email, text, video, or the office phone.
A cloud-based phone system allows you to integrate multiple channels, such as two-way SMS messaging, voicemail, or email, into one central communications system. When employees are able to communicate using their preferred channel, they are ultimately more productive and are more likely to respond to colleagues and clients. Employees who dislike checking voicemail, for example, can benefit from automated transcription services that turn voicemails into emails. Having the ability to automatically receive voicemails in an email format may make the difference between getting the message or not.
The ability to video conference anytime, anywhere, and on any device is also a high-value communication benefit for a large healthcare organization. For physicians, video conferencing is an essential tool for reviewing patient scans, such as x-rays or c-scans, with other colleagues. It can also help doctors or specialists who are geographically separated humanize their relationships by putting a face with a name.
The more your employees connect with each other — whether to discuss patient care or what they did over the weekend — the more you'll be able to foster an organizational culture that is focused on building collaboration and improving patient care through more effective communication.
Prizing Enterprise Networks
As part of improving your organization's culture, it's also important to encourage closer relationships and interactions among staff. One way to do this in a large healthcare organization is by building an internal social network. Just as friends and family stay connected on social media platforms, hospital staff and healthcare workers can interact in a friendly and open manner on an enterprise social network, creating a positive and engaging organizational culture that reaches beyond patient care rooms.
The benefits of creating an internal social network go beyond adding a social perspective to interactions, however. An internal social network also makes it easier and more productive for teams to communicate and collaborate because all conversations about a topic or project are kept in a central location. This eliminates email silos, streamlines communication, and allows employees to interact with each other in real time despite being in distant locations, an especially important benefit given today's growing global healthcare network.
The integration of strong collaboration software can also contribute to improving company culture in large healthcare organizations. Employees using group chats, voice, and video calls straight from their desktop or mobile app collaborate more efficiently and are better able to stay up to speed on projects and issues. They are also able to instantly share files, such as patient histories or company memos, with colleagues, saving significant time and effort.
Collaboration software can allow one person to call multiple individuals simultaneously, making on-the-fly conference calls effortless. Further, healthcare systems can use communications technology to improve company culture and make collaboration spontaneous as well as planned. Just like bumping into each other in the hallway, when collaboration is easy from any device or any place, your employees will feel like they can call, text, or video conference with whoever, whenever — creating a company culture that is built on strong relationships and effective communication.
The more your employees connect with each other — whether to discuss patient care or what they did over the weekend — the more you'll be able to foster an organizational culture that is focused on building collaboration and improving patient care through more effective communication. But, in an era where everyone is on the go and often physically disconnected, the best way to make these connections happen is through cloud-based technology. If your healthcare organization isn't quite there yet, it's time to start the journey.