The full impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is still being felt in healthcare. Even as the industry battles ongoing challenges related to the coronavirus, the pandemic has swiftly transformed healthcare’s communication needs and priorities. If those responsible for safety fail to address these changes, they may be putting staff members, patients, and visitors at-risk.
To provide protection to employees, patients and others, healthcare organizations must account for the impact of issues like employee burnout, the increased threat of digital disturbances or leveraging a database that is regularly in flux. These realities can’t go unnoticed, especially by organizations that want to implement reliable and effective emergency messaging that can help them react quickly to any event.
1. Widespread Employee Burnout
The mental impact of the coronavirus outbreak on healthcare workers has been significant. A recent survey from The Physicians Foundation highlights several causes for concern. In addition to many respondents expressing feelings of burnout, 37% of physicians say they want to retire within the next year.
For physicians and other roles, the pressure of working in healthcare is real, and it could easily return during future events like a long-term public health crisis or a severe weather event. Because of this, it’s important that healthcare organizations always make critical communication as simple as possible to minimize confusion during the chaos of an emergency.
A system that can be easily learned and understood makes a huge difference even outside of emergency incidents. If predictions come true that more workers will be retiring from healthcare, then those in charge of employee safety may find themselves onboarding new coworkers more frequently. The time needed for this training can be drastically reduced if a straightforward solution for emergency messaging is employed.
2. Increases in Digital Disturbances
Power or systems outages are a huge cause for concern, especially as massive cyberattacks are predicted to be more frequent in the future. They can hinder communication and leave employees without guidance or information. In some instances, it can even result in death.
Healthcare organizations must establish a backup communication channel so no one is ever out of reach, even during an outage. It’s not enough to use an emergency messaging system that only relies on one form of communication. Whether it’s via text, desktop notification, email, voice, intercom, digital signage, or any other medium, those in charge of safety must ensure they always have a way to alert and inform.
3. An Evolving Workforce Landscape
The workplace has looked very different since the coronavirus outbreak began. Some facilities have a limited number of employees in the workplace, while others have seen an increase in telehealth visits or remote work by non–emergency staff. Regardless of where these employees are located, healthcare organizations must keep these workers informed about incidents that may impact their ability to reach coworkers. If any of these changes become permanent, these systems need to be in place and established before they’re leveraged in an emergency.
Additionally, many healthcare facilities are relying on workers who travel to virus hotspots and provide help where it is most needed. But healthcare organizations everywhere may find themselves relying on more temporary workers in the future. Issues like an aging workforce and a growing population of elderly patients created demand even before the pandemic. If burnout from the coronavirus outbreak drives away more workers from the industry, then a constantly morphing workforce may be the norm for years to come.
To account for this always-shifting audience, healthcare organizations must invest in an emergency messaging system that can notify people no matter where they’re located. They must be able to send critical communication to temporary staff like they would any other employee. They also must have the ability to automatically remove those contacts from a database once they are no longer with that organization.
Healthcare Needs Emergency Messaging That Meets the Challenges of This New Reality
The entire healthcare industry is feeling the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. But some facilities have had to juggle the continuing strain of the outbreak while simultaneously managing other incidents like mass casualty events or severe weather.
Not all critical communication platforms are built to withstand the pressure of the many demands currently placed on healthcare facilities. Learn about the three pillars of emergency messaging and why they’re important when evaluating communication solutions for your facility.