Hospitals and health systems face constant economic pressures that require creative approaches to ensure the communities they serve receive high-quality, patient-centered care. An increasingly common – but potentially disruptive – solution involves partnering with clinical and non-clinical outsourcing companies.
As a regional health system planned such a collaboration with one of the nation’s largest health services companies, they engaged our firm to help plan, develop and execute internal and external communications to help minimize disruption. Management of key administrative functions including revenue cycle management and information technology would be transitioned to the new partner to create cost-savings and efficiencies, allowing the hospital team to focus resources on core clinical services. But implementation of the partnership would mean more than 500 health system staff members would be transitioned to employment by the partner company.
Our client needed a change management strategy and communications plan to ensure internal and external audiences understood the benefits of the partnership for employees, patients, providers and the community.
Strategy and Tactics
Lovell worked closely with both health system leaders and the business partner’s communications team to create a comprehensive communications plan for internal and external audiences. The plan and its strategies included a detailed grid of audiences and stakeholders to drive targeted messaging and proactive, positive engagement both before and after the announcement.
Messages, materials and communication channels were customized for each major stakeholder group. Deliverables included a full message platform and potential QA; talking points for board members and hospital leaders to use with local officials; a holding statement in case of media inquiry; several communications to employees (both impacted and non-impacted), medical staff members and volunteers; a video script for a warm message from the CEO to ensure team members from every shift heard the hospital’s messages of reassurance; social media and website posts; an op-ed and copy for a print ad in the local papers. In the days before the announcement, we held sessions to prepare key health system leaders for an editorial board meeting and in-person forums with groups of employees.
Execution and Results
Communications were rolled out as planned and the news was well received by employees, media and community members. Though we prepared the hospital with responsive strategies to address potential pushback, employee and community acceptance of the news made them unnecessary. Hospital system leaders were thorough, effective and authentic in delivering messages about the benefits of the partnership and their open communication and engagement with stakeholders resulted in support for the partnership.