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3 tips for communicating when your industry landscape becomes foreign

Have you ever visited a country where you didn’t speak the language, and few people spoke yours? How did you communicate? Did you find that challenging? 

Well, think about how healthcare organizations may be feeling right now. Throughout the industry, organizations are being pushed to provide better quality with fewer resources (people and money). They are also, often for the first time, trying to speak and interact with one another. A hospital might refer patients to a long-term care organization. A long term care patient may be able to move back home and then needs in home care. Some healthcare organizations are merging to have a full suite of care services, while others are creating partnerships with other healthcare organizations to have one system of care.

Overall, this connectivity should benefit patients. More physicians talking with each other and transferring records from doctor to doctor will integrate care. However, healthcare organizations aren’t accustomed to communicating this way, and opening up and sharing is yet another change. Talking with each other is the way to bring more accountability for patients’ overall health. Here are 3 tips for coping as they’re looking to optimize operations in this current, very foreign environment:

  1. Meet regularly: This may seem intuitive, but often it’s easier said than done. Having regular meetings among different healthcare service provider types will improve their relations and abilities to solve problems.
  2. Understand individual differences and common goals: In any cultural exchange, there are differences that must be understood and reconciled to build a productive relationship. Using analytics to uncover strengths of each organization can foster understanding and help to bridge relationship and communications gaps.
  3. Cross train or educate to build understanding of different functions and issues: How do they want to be referred?  What family challenges get in the way of care? Use those regular meetings to also share information about the current challenges and processes of each organization.

With these steps, any organization facing new changes and obstacles can improve communications and thus the quality of their services, making for a much more pleasant journey.

Article by Jennifer Mackin.

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