Four Ways to Use Tech to Solve COVID-19 Communications Challenges

 In Improving Satisfaction Scores

COVID-19 has had tremendous impacts on life in America. Social distancing has changed the very nature of how we interact. Deeper layers of PPE and denials of access separate caregivers and patients. Communications challenges we tolerated in the past are becoming huge obstacles. We simply cannot have the face-to-face interaction our teams and businesses have been built on.

But, as doors open to telehealth and as many providers are still bracing for an increase in referrals, now is the time to take a closer look at technology.

Here are four tips on using tech to solve the communications challenges bugging you right now.

1. Maximize your EMR – As your team’s source of truth on patient care, your EMR should be up-to-date on versioning, appropriately architected to align with your business, integrated with other compliant technologies and fully deployed. Policies and procedures should be well documented and housed in a way that’s accessible to in-the-field teams even without a WiFi connection.

We often find that providers only make it part way through an EMR deployment, leaving capabilities that could improve team communication and collaboration untapped.

2. Audit your team’s collaboration tools and rules – If I had a magic wand, this would be the number one area I would fix for most care providers. Gaps in communications create process challenges that slow response and reimbursements. Be clear with your team on what role each tool in your communications arsenal plays. Document each source of truth and its owner. A RACI chart can be a helpful method to align platforms, roles and owners.

Consider platforms like SharePoint for process documentation, Skype/Teams for collaboration and weekly supervisor/supervisee check-ins. These tools allow you to limit email to official communications. And, look again at your EMR for handoff and status communications. Regardless of the tools, make sure to follow HIPAA compliance standards in patient information.

3. Amp up your value to referral sources – In times like these, your first instinct might be to dial down communications with referral sources. But, a smart approach is to laser focus on value. Folks are looking for help right now. If you can help your referral sources now, you’ll only increase your value and deepen your relationship.

Account-based marketing (ABM) – married with a strong content strategy and customer relationship management and marketing automation solution – provides high value, low touch and very low cost methods for engagement. This technology essentially creates a surround sound approach for supporting specific people in key roles at targeted organizations. (These techniques also can be used as a powerful part of a donor marketing strategy.)

4. Right fit your social media – Whipping out my magic wand again, this would be the number two area on which I would focus. Providers have a tendency to think about social media as a publishing platform and to think of all platforms as being the same. That’s definitely not the case. Your social media strategy and messaging should be highly nuanced to each platform to take maximum advantage of the role each platform plays in the eyes of your audience.

For example, you should have a donor marketing strategy that leverages LinkedIn. You should have a Facebook strategy that highlights your team and their contributions. And, a thought leadership strategy should underpin it all with your website as home to all your great insights and expertise for families, referrers, donors and prospective employees.

We are in a truly transformative time when it comes to how we build and manage relationships. While nothing can fully ever replace face time, there has never been a better time to marry personality and humanity with technology. Those who do with diligence and dedication consistently see better employee engagement, stronger referrer relationships and deeper connections with donors. If you want to discuss additional needs or concerns regarding communication strategies during this crisis, feel free to contact me.


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