Partnering for the Patient: Bringing Patient Experience & Internal Communications Together

81% of healthcare organizations say improvements to patient experience is a high priority. But only 11% feel they are capable of providing a positive customer experience (Reputation). This means that Patient Experience and Internal Communications teams have their work cut out for them.

Patient experience (PX) being seen as a top priority was already a rising trend for organizations before COVID-19. But the work PX does is more critical than ever for reputation management and maintaining customers. It goes without saying that organizational change and fully embracing the digital revolution is inevitable.

Luckily, another invaluable team at most organizations has also been heading down the same path for the last several years. They have been moving to digital and mobile tech, focusing on more than just engagement but a holistic employee experience, and fighting for their seat at the table. Yes, you guessed it. It’s Internal Communications.

How to Become Better Partners for Your Patients

It’s likely that these two teams already partner with each other on campaigns at your organization. But it’s key for that relationship to be strengthened to drive results. Here are three ways you can do that: 

  1. Internal Communications fully understands Patient Experience’s goals. This will help IC make the best recommendations for the communication cadence, channels, and tone that will make the PX campaigns successful.
  2. IC and PX meet regularly. Internal comms is a team that has their finger on the pulse of what’s happening at the organization. They can help give patient experience a heads up when there are competing initiatives, too much work on the shoulders of the frontline staff, and help to ensure there is company culture and value alignment in the campaigns. Meeting regularly also opens up the opportunity to share in a mutual goal and work together towards achieving it. If an executive or leader takes on a goal of a partner group (like improving the patient experience) the alignment is instant.
  3. Empower PX to share their voice. Internal comms can’t possibly be the keeper of all communication, especially at a large healthcare organization. We need to partner with other departments to share stories that feel genuine and real. Since PX really understands the “WHY” behind what your healthcare organization does, their stories will seamlessly help connect your frontline teams to the mission and goals of your organization—while simultaneously helping them get out the messages that will help to continuously improve patient experiences.

The Benefits for Internal Communications

It’s not just about helping out the PX team though. Strengthening this departmental relationship has big benefits for IC as well. Here’s why:

  1. Patient Experience has a direct line to patients. Imagine the wealth of stories and learnings this team has because of their proximity to your customer: the patients. This means that both these teams have a unique perspective on employee and patient needs — and sharing that knowledge will help to align communications and be more authentic.
  2. Patient Experience initiatives are need-to-know information. With the growing emphasis on this team and improving the customer experience in healthcare, sharing this content is a necessity. And sharing this kind of operational content regularly is a great way to drive adoption of communication channels (not to mention help you prove your value to the C-Suite!).
  3. Patient Experience has some pretty valuable data. From CAHPS scores to other patient feedback, this team is the keeper of some hugely important ROI data that Internal Comms sometimes lacks access to. Partnering with PX early on in a campaign and tracking the impact is a great way for both teams to illustrate their contributions to the organization’s key objectives.

Next Steps

We are big believers in the importance of communication professionals forming alliances with stakeholders from other departments. This will not only help you to steer the communication strategy at your organization but collectively work together to achieve business goals. And this shouldn’t just stop with teams like Patient Experience. You should seek to create a regularly cadenced meeting with all your stakeholders (we recommend monthly). This not only strengthens your connections with these teams, but you’ll improve internal stakeholder communication and teamwork across departments.

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