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Healthcare is Embracing Innovation

Here’s How to Make Sure Your Audiences are Ready for It

The Takeaway

At our recent HealthKey Summit, speakers across healthcare emphasized the industry’s driving need to reimagine the delivery of care. From new technologies to at-home care models, leaders are trialing innovative practices and tools as they seek to offer more access and value to patients while easing the burden on overworked providers.

 

Illustrated group of people walk along a path that curls over itself and forms an arrow where one person stands alone, heading in a new direction.

 

Our View

While this isn’t a new concept to you, it probably is to some of your patients and community members — and maybe even your staffers. And that presents an important communications opportunity, as shifting the patient experience in any way is likely to generate confusion or concern among an increasingly skeptical audience. (Gallup’s polling finds just 34% of Americans express confidence in the medical system, a number that continues to trend downwards.)

 

So how do you create positive momentum around a new change or tactic that will affect patient care or interactions? Glad you asked.

 

It starts with tailoring your messages and strategy to the unique needs of each audience:

 

Consider how your change fits within patients’ existing perceptions.

  • Background: One of the most talked-about examples of tech innovation in healthcare is the generative AI tools offering the ability to immediately create patient charts and notes, hopefully eliminating providers’ onerous “pajama time” charting. As a bonus, it allows providers to put down the keyboard and give their patients more intentional face time. That’s a win all around, right?
  • The shift: Patients may react differently to that in-office change given the heavy coverage of BlackCat’s recent ransomware attack on Change Healthcare. AI tools now offer another — and more thorough — capture of their sensitive health information, and some patients may see it as a fresh point of vulnerability for accessing their records.
  • The strategy: Your communications should preempt those concerns. Perhaps, along with an appointment reminder, you share information about your new adoption of this tool and emphasize how it will help providers’ work-life balance, the cybersecurity steps you’ve committed to, and the patient’s opportunity to opt-out. Ideally, a patient should be aware of your new changes — and given time to adjust — before stepping into your office.

 


 

Your workforce is a key communications audience, too.

  • Among industry insiders, change is often seen as creative and cutting-edge. But to an overworked staff, learning and implementing a new strategy, system or tool can be cumbersome and stressful.
  • What leaders are saying: “We already have a workplace crisis. And there is a lot of fear putting new tech in, because it causes friction among the workforce. We need to lead through this so that we take friction out of the workforce to help solve that staffing gap,” said Dr. Sandy Gomberg, co-founder of Stel Life, at HealthKey.
  • The strategy: When you’re implementing a change, your workforce may be the most important audience — because they’re the ones who will bring the vision to life and champion it to patients. Don’t underestimate the burden of learning or building something new. Your communications should be clear and comprehensive — and hopefully, in-person — with a plan for listening to their concerns and providing as many layers of support as possible, for as long as might be needed.
  • Change management isn’t fast: “For me, constant cheerleading is needed to get people to reinvent themselves,” said Dr. Mark Victor, CEO of Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia, sharing about what it took to help physicians adopt the concept and payment structure of value-based care. “The difference between taking your foot off the pedal [of fee-for-service care] and transitioning to the future revenue stream of doing less — there’s a delta of time. It took several years of retraining our physicians, at the cost of their own revenue, to take their foot off the pedal of utilization as they’ve come to embrace the ultimate care delivery of the patient who really needs it.”

 


 

Don’t miss the opportunity for your communications strategy to shape policy — or get funding.

  • What leaders are saying: Advocating for change and collaborating with the government isn’t just for the largest health organizations. Andy Slavitt, general partner at Town Hall Ventures and former advisor to the Biden administration’s COVID response, argued for increased communication and collaboration between change-makers and the government. “There are amazing people on both sides, trying to solve the same problems, and not sitting together and having that sort of transparent, public/private partnership that you need to have,” he said. “The private sector wants to be left alone by the government, and they don’t spend the time educating and informing. Any one of these problems is a shared problem. In the next 10 years, another $1 trillion will go from the government to the private sector. The private sector has to show they’re up for the task.”
  • The strategy: There’s collaboration — and perhaps money — to be had by bringing the right people along with you as you innovate. Does your communications plan include considering whether you can educate the government on matters benefitting you and your patients?
  • The flip side: Michael Capriotti, senior vice president at Virtua Health, discussed Virtua’s successful model for providing acute hospital care at home for patients with private insurance in New Jersey: “I’ve been in healthcare for 23 years, and healthcare is really pushing toward a level of innovation that we haven’t seen in decades. We don’t want to slow it down. If we don’t keep regulators aligned, will we be able to keep this up?”

 


 

There’s a lot of promise, and a lot at stake, for innovation within healthcare. That’s why your healthcare strategy must bring your audiences along, helping them see the benefits and value of the changes you’re implementing on their behalf.

Sparking innovation starts here. Let's chat.
Sparking innovation starts here. Let's chat.
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