For several years now, the healthcare sector has been in crisis. Budget cuts, hospital bed shortages, understaffing, and now a second wave of COVID-19… In this tense context, Healthcare institutions are facing material but above all huge humanitarian challenges. For these reasons, modern modes and collaborative tools can play key roles. Let’s go over those collaboration needs and the role of Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) in the rapidly changing Healthcare sector.
Healthcare institutions under pressure and facing major challenges
With more than 12.8 million patients hospitalized in 2018, France’s 3,295 healthcare institutions* have never been so busy! Paradoxically, drastic budget cuts (€8 billion in cuts over 10 years in the hospital sector) have led to massive staff reductions, heavy bed cuts (100,000 beds eliminated in 20 years) and maintenance for aging devices. The result has been a profound disorganization of services (particularly administrative).
In the space of a few years, the situation and working conditions of healthcare staff have deteriorated significantly: overwork, reduced rest periods, staggered working hours, verbal and even physical aggression, etc. Everyone is affected: healthcare as well as administrative staff (the latter accounting for 11%** of the workforce). When a department catches a cold, the entire hospital coughs.
This is why today healthcare institutions must tackle three major challenges:
- Connect staff: The first challenge is to create links within teams and strengthen cohesion (whether at the level of a department or an entire institution).
- Facilitate the circulation of information: Facilitating sharing of and access to information, to better organize services and ensure optimal patient follow-up.
- Equip for optimal collaboration: Modernizing collaboration tools is the key to maintaining a good level of performance.
To respond to these challenges, the “digital revolution” has brought about innovative solutions, and the enterprise social network is the best of them all. It’s a secure internal social network, specific to a company or an institution (healthcare for example) and reserved for its employees, allowing them to connect with each other to fluidify the flow of information and to facilitate collaborative work—whether staff are working in the same location or remotely.
Challenge #1: Bring teams together and strengthen cohesion
Healthcare institutions bring together employees who work in the offices and others in the field. Thus, administrative staff, nursing staff, paramedical staff, socio-educational staff and general services (cleaning, technical…) contribute to the missions of the establishment. With different professional cultures, all these employees need to be brought together to work better together.
However, when the context is difficult, everyone knows that the teams that survive best are those that are closest together and have the strongest internal solidarity. That’s why they need to get to know each other well, to discuss and share their ideas so that they can both discuss the difficulties encountered and reflect together on solutions, day by day. This is how the sense of belonging develops, the ultimate motivational lever in difficult times.
This is where the enterprise social network (ESN), also called “internal social network” will play a key role in:
- Unite employees no matter where they are, without distinction between headquarters/offices and other worksites (white-collar vs. blue-collar). With an ESN, you bring together all your organization’s stakeholders onto a single platform.
- Enhance the value of talents and expertise by relying on the numerous community management features (publications, personalized home page, etc.). The ESN allows you to animate your internal communication, convey your values and enhance employee talent and expertise by sharing success and unifying initiatives.
- Promote exchanges by bringing your employees together in groups and thematic communities in order to encourage and fluidify exchanges between them daily.
It’s true social networks sometimes evoke images of trivial information and wasted time. Behind these uses, however, lies an inescapable added value in their ability to build strong ties, bring people together, weave relationships of trust, and increase general solidarity and cohesion. One only has to look at how these “general public” social networks are used in delicate contexts (following a natural disaster or a terrorist attack) to stick together, offering each participant encouragement, help and advice. Enterprise social networks have thus taken the best of the “general public” social networks while adjusting their use to make them a unifying, human and collective energy-creating tool.
Challenge #2: Fluidify the flow of information
Within health care institutions, a large amount of information is exchanged every day, both orally and in writing. But in a context where medical and paramedical caregivers and administrative staff are overwhelmed, some information is inevitably forgotten or lost. Being able to easily transmit information, facilitate access to it and stay informed is therefore a triple challenge.
To answer this challenge, the enterprise social network will allow you to:
- Centralize and organize information by replacing e-mail with secure, centralized and organized exchanges in groups/communities, to ensure optimal sharing of information and documents among the employees who are members.
- Fluidify the circulation of information (internal communication), to develop transversality, and decompartmentalize the organization. What’s more, thanks to the interaction functionalities, you can promote individual speech, feedback (for example through surveys) and collective intelligence.
- Simplify access to information by relying on an “intelligent” search engine. This way, your teams can easily access documents and all the information they’ve accumulated—ideal when you have to constantly manage the arrival of new recruits! Everyone sees the latest information shared in the groups to which they belong, right in their news feed.
- Make your internal communication more effective by exploiting the tool’s editorial features. You can thus better highlight the information you want to relay to everyone, make sure it’s seen, and with one click, even reach those who haven’t yet seen it. With an enterprise social network, you put all your collaborators “back on the same page!”
Some may object that disseminating information, sharing documents or creating discussion groups could be done by e-mail. Certainly, but where the enterprise social network does well is that it prevents the information exchanged from being dispersed in personal e-mail boxes. On the contrary, it is concentrated in one place, accessible by everyone at any time. No more wasting time searching for an attachment among thousands of e-mails!
Challenge #3: Facilitate collaborative work, on site or remotely
In today’s healthcare facilities, recruiting good profiles is never easy. Attractiveness of positions and establishments is therefore a key element. And for that, it is necessary to take care of the employee experience, i.e. the satisfaction that people have in coming to work in your entity.
Here again, the internal social network can be decisive. Because it will allow all the teams to:
- Work better together (on site or remotely): The ESN indeed allows you to organize and equip multiple groups with features that facilitate project management, sharing and co-editing of documents, collaborative monitoring and simplified live exchanges.
- Increase team performance: Thanks to the ESN, you’ll be able to accelerate deliberations and daily decision-making by relying on better shared information and real-time collective exchanges via discussion threads or videoconference meetings. In addition, specific functionalities allow you to automate the distribution of information to synchronize continuously.
- Save time: For example, with a chatbot that automatically and instantly answers your employees’ frequently asked questions, allowing you to focus on higher value-added tasks.
- Enhance the collaborator experience: (discussed above) with an all-in-one platform that reduces the number of digital tools to be used and makes the collaborator’s life easier. A true digital workplace focused on performance and user-friendliness, it facilitates telecommuting and helps everyone achieve a better balance between professional and personal life.
With such a tool, organizing and executing tasks is made easier in both the office and the field. For example: on the side of the administrative staff to share the flow of files to be processed and move projects forward, and on the side of the field staff to exchange information live (via the integrated chat or video conferencing).
Through numerous functionalities and by investing more in people, the enterprise social network makes collaborative work and interactions more fluid and efficient.
You’ve understood by now that the Enterprise Social Network (ESN) is much more than a glamorized Intranet: it’s an innovative digital solution that connects people (a true internal social network), facilitates exchanges and communication (replacing e-mail), and offers functionalities that save everyone time, every day. As Collaboratif-Info recently wrote, “The ESN is the hub of corporate collaboration today.” So, when are you going to start putting more emphasis on collaboration in Healthcare?
Find out how Talkspirit Revolutionizes Collaboration Among Health Care Professionals
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We’ve earned trust from the health care sector: the CPAM (French health insurance fund) of Bas-Rhin, the CPAM of Haut-Rhin, Santé Cité clinics, the Guyane Santé, Réseau Santé… Because at Talkspirit, the “Made in France” enterprise social network, we wish to show our support to the medical personnel in this challenging time of COVID-19.
To help all healthcare workers, we offer free access to Talkspirit until December 15th, 2020. For all new platforms created, with unlimited users.
To learn more, please contact us.
Authors: Laure Marchal, Benoît Renoul