Initiating Healthier Communication

An assessment of internal communication improves the exchange of information

 

Sisters of Mercy Health System Communication Audit

THE OBJECTIVE

To assess the internal communication processes and programs of the Sisters of Mercy Health System (SMHS) to identify realistic opportunities for eliminating roadblocks, and improve the day-to-day exchange of information throughout all System facilities.

IMPLEMENTING THE PROGRAM

As one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the nation, SMHS includes approximately 25,000 employees and 4,000 physicians, delivering services at facilities in an eight-state area.

As part of Phase I of a Systemwide communication audit, The Rodgers Group’s senior consultants interviewed 48 individuals, including CEOs, vice presidents and communicators. Multiple interviews and discussions were held with the director of corporate communication.

RGL researchers also reviewed existing communication programs and products, including print and electronic publications, System web sites, Intranet pages, style books, corporate brochures and other materials.

RESULTS

Supported strongly by most participants, Phase I of the audit was seen as an important step toward better leveraging communication in the System’s day-to-day operations.

As a result of findings, plans are underway to:

  • Initiate monthly senior management meetings, followed by departmental meetings to circulate information.
  • Shift a printed newsletter outlining Systemwide office activities and issues to an Intranet-based, biweekly format.
  • Establish a formal Communication Council to facilitate the sharing of information and ideas, and to support Systemwide initiatives and common needs.
  • Expand the use of web technology to include a PR/Marketing Intranet site, revised System web sites and the establishment of online directories.
  • Reformat the System’s quarterly newsletter to sharpen the focus on human interest and service stories, best practices and awareness building.

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