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You talking to me? Improving provider communication.

Getting the right information to the people who need it is a constant struggle, and grows more complicated with the size of an organization and the adoption of new technologies. UI Health Care is an enormous and complex entity, and technology has never moved faster.

To find out what we needed to fix, the Provider/Faculty Satisfaction & Engagement Committee conducted a communication audit. In December 2016 we sent a survey to about 2,500 providers, and more than 500 of you answered. In-person interviews with 50 providers continued through January.

What we learned will come as no surprise: most providers are overwhelmed with information. Two-thirds of survey respondents said they either receive too much information or not enough of the right kind. And once information fatigue sets in, important messages don’t get through.

We found that most providers prefer to receive news that affects their work via email, department meetings, and direct contact with their department chair. 

The preferred source also depends on the type of information. Respondents said they prefer

  • Personalized information via email
  • Department news from in-person meetings or emails from the department chair
  • System news through a portal or intranet
  • Epic news on clinical workstations

For content, respondents asked for content that is specific to their needs, that is easily accessible, and that stems from “one source of truth” – a central authority with a lock on what they most need to know.

Informed by the survey responses and interviews, the Committee has developed a series of recommended actions:

Reduce Email Volume/Reconfigure Newsletters

We are already working to meet this goal. A daily digital digest now capitalizes on the recognition of Noon News (a UI Health Care staple since the 1970s), consolidating each day’s health care broadcasts as well as the daily census and many Epic and system updates – and keeping hundreds of emails out of your in-box each year. The VPMA Voice now focuses solely on the VPMA’s column, the UIP Newsletter is an online-only piece, and Quest will be a targeted email.

Create One “Source of Truth”

We are considering the creation of a portal for faculty- and provider-specific information, like open positions, specialty-focused research and studies, and financial performance data.

Enhance Communication through Departments

The Committee is helping to create best practices for internal communications, along with resources to improve meetings and onboarding practices.

Increase Engagement by Leadership

Committee members will continue to share these findings with all departments, and hold listening sessions with clinical and basic science departments to discuss key issues. They also pledge to conduct and share regular communication audits to ensure forward progress.

Standardize Internal Communications

The UI Health Care Marketing and Communications Department (MarCom) is the primary cultivator of institution-wide communication, and will regularly meet with communicators across the enterprise to share communication strategies and tactics.

The timeline below consolidates the Committee’s plans for implementing new policies.

If you participated in either the survey or the interview process, we thank you for your input. If you have any questions or concerns about our efforts to improve provider communication, please contact any member of the Provider Satisfaction and Engagement Committee: Brad Archer, MD • Theresa Brennan, MD • Anna Cigrand • Kathy Dean • Fran Ernst • Ami Gaarde • Lois Geist, MD • Maia Hightower, MD • Joe Kim • Maria Lofgren • Taylin Stoner • Marta Van Beek, MD • Doug VanDaele, MD