Streamlining COVID-19 Communication to Staff

Brief huddles, not a barrage of emails and texts, might be the best way to prevent communication overload

December 10, 2020

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Information on COVID-19 safety is flying fast and furious through healthcare organizations these days. From government agencies to professional associations and local government officials, front-line workers and facility technicians alike are inundated with alerts, guidelines and suggestions about staying safe from potential infection while in the workplace. What is the most effective way for managers to communicate effectively with their staff?

Brief huddles — rather than a barrage of emails and texts about safety and risk — might be the fastest and simplest way for hospital workers to avoid communication overload as they deal with the flood of COVID-19 cases, according to Baylor University.

Amid the pandemic, health care providers must maintain physical distancing and follow new federal recommendations for increased electronic health communications — all while keeping up with rapid changes in communication technology.

Hospital efforts to increase safety can be stifled by and even contribute to information overload. Researchers noted that recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include using telehealth services over face-to-face triage and visits, an approach that could become permanent for the health profession. Patient portals are being used widely for outpatient care. For inpatient care, physicians are using tablets, smartphones and video conferencing for virtual rounds while the rest of the care team participates from a conference room. Nurses maintain distance in patient rooms by using tablets.

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