How to Successfully Communicate Digital Transformation in Health Care

20 January 2022

Change Management


Digital transformation. Although most people link it to commercial companies optimizing processes by digitizing them to stay ahead of their competitors, it's actually everywhere. Even in health care! Digital patient files make it easier to share patient related data with specialists or other doctors in case of emergency. And systems to book appointments and consult test results online make it easier for patients to access relevant information. But with every digitization come certain risks. After all, health-related information must be treated confidentially and mustn't be shared with the wrong people. And all these great systems only work well if everybody within the sector knows how to use them correctly. But in such a busy sector as health care, how can you communicate digital transformation successfully?

Digital transformation starts with installing a new system and make sure you have the hardware to work with the new software. But it doesn't stop there: To implement digital transformation successfully, it's necessary that all employees know exactly what is expected from them and how they have to work with the new, fancy system. Only if all information about the patient is entered correctly into the digital file, for example, can other doctors access and understand it, if necessary. And as mentioned earlier, with such confidential information, it's extremely important that employees know how to handle and when to share it (or not). After all, most of us wouldn't be too happy if any information about their health gets into the wrong hands.

The difference between digital transformation in health care and other sectors

Why this is any different from other sectors, you're wondering? Well, it's not the private information health care employees are dealing with. After all, in the business world, we deal with confidential client information on a daily basis, too. But while employees in companies spend whole days working from behind their laptops, that's often not the case for employees in health care. To them, digital transformation is part of the administration of the job. It's something they prefer to spend not too much time on, as it keeps them from doing their actual job. However, change always requires time to learn to work with the new circumstances. And that's also true for digital transformation. For employees with busy agendas, it's therefore extra important to create relevance for the change before going into the details of how the change is going to happen.

Dutch organization Parlan Jeugdhulp was facing a big digital transformation: With the implementation of new digital patient files, all work processes needed to change. Curious how we helped them?

Communicate digital transformation in health care

The key to successful digital transformation in health care is good internal communication. Especially when employees are not over the moon about the change and the time they'll need to invest to get used to it. Make sure to reach your target audience with the right message at the right time, and you should be good. Because as soon as they understand why digital transformation is relevant for them to do their jobs even better, they'll make time to learn more about it. Not sure where to start? We got you covered! Below, you find our tips to communicate digital transformation in health care.

Know your target audience

The more you know about your internal target audience, the better! What motivates them to show up at work and do their best to help patients every single day? Why might they be sceptical about the new system? And what potential problems do they encounter with the current system? Does the new system solve those? Get to know them to understand their motivation, information need and knowledge level to adapt your internal communication accordingly.

Start with why
Now you know the motivation that drives your audience, you can use exactly that in your internal communication. That's how you can make the topic relevant to your audience! How does the new system make the daily work of your employees easier on the long term? How will it improve the service they can provide to patients? These aspects form the why behind your digital transformation. Once you have created relevance, you can start communicating what is expected from your audience and how they can help you implement the new system successfully.

Set realistic goals

Your target audience is pretty busy, and they probably don't prioritize administrative tasks. That's okay, but it's important to take that into account when setting goals for your digital transformation project. Give your employees enough time to get used to the new system. If they understand that it's relevant they learn to work with it, they'll make time in their busy agendas to do so.

Use the right media

Internal communication doesn't always have to be an email or a note on the blackboard. On the contrary! Since you got to know your target audience in the beginning of your change project, you now know their preferences when it comes to communication media. Use that knowledge! It will make your message stick even better, we promise.

Make it measurable

In the end, you don't only want to send out information about the new system, you'll also want to know if your employees actually got what you were trying to tell them. Or in other words: You'll want to know if your message got across and if it sticks. That's the only way to successfully implement digital transformation. How to make it measurable? Well, easy: You could, for example, keep an eye on the traffic on the landing page where you dropped all the information about the new system. Or you could monitor the outcomes of a quiz at the end of an e-learning. That way, you don't only know that your employees received the information, but also know if they understood it. Or if you should send out a reminder.

There you go! These tips should help you to successfully communicate digital transformation in health care. Not sure yet where to start? Get in touch and let us know! Our consultants are more than happy to help you out.

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