A group of Millennial healthcare employees appears with the blog title: Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A group of Millennial healthcare employees appears with the blog title: Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

Using gamification and social media in healthcare can help you in attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees.

In Part 1 of our 2-part blog about attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees, we discussed two strategies to help you improve employee engagement and employee retention among the ever-increasing largest share of the U.S. workforce: promoting your mission and investing in education.

Here are two more suggestions for attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees:

Embrace Social Media in Healthcare

Social media in healthcare can be invaluable for attracting Millennial healthcare employees.  For example, Hospitals & Health Networks reports that All Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida uses social media to engage potential new hires with stories, images, and videos that highlight what it’s like to work at their facility and live in their city:

“At All Children’s, a new nurse blogs about her experiences behind the scenes. The transport team writes a periodic series about their adventures. The hospital home page features ‘Shift Change,’ a one-minute video with action music that includes fast-paced scenes from a single day at All Children’s mixed with shots of Central Florida night life and beach sunsets.”

Exceptional internal communication is also essential for retaining Millennial healthcare employees.  Many Millennials desire more feedback from their managers at work and are accustomed to instantaneous communication.  Commit to increasing the amount of feedback you provide in order to improve employee engagement, and ensure you have a system in place that enables real-time communication among employees and departments.

Utilize Gamification Strategies

Millennial speaker Ryan Jenkins describes gamification as “the use of game design techniques and mechanics in a non-game context to solve problems and engage users.”  He provides the gamification examples of tracking frequent flyer miles, credit card points, and fantasy football scores and explains the attraction:

“When humans achieve new levels in games, the brain releases dopamine which prompts excitement, encourages exploration to try new things, and helps combat the stagnation caused by failure. The reward-motivated behavior induced by dopamine is the key to increased employee engagement, overcoming challenges, and increased innovation through exploration.”

Incorporating gamification features like competition, rewards and incentives, point scoring, and real-time, instant feedback into the workplace may appeal to Millennial healthcare employees (who grew up playing video games and games on their mobile phones) and can improve employee engagement for all generations.

For instance, try implementing tools that monitor registrars’ patient encounter accuracy relative to their peers, and provide performance incentives to improve employee engagement and recognize accomplishments.  This will create a fun, competitive atmosphere and provide Millennial healthcare employees with the feedback they crave.

As noted in Part 1 of this blog, most Millennials want the opportunity to learn at work.  Gamification can be used to improve employee engagement with training and online learning as well.

Many Millennials want to work in healthcare; according to a survey of 18,000 Millennials, about 40% plan on working in medicine or health-related fields.  Healthcare facilities that consider the values of this generation of workers in their efforts to improve employee engagement and employee retention will have the most success in attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees.

These strategies, embracing social media in healthcare and utilizing gamification, along with those outlined in Part 1 of this 2-part blog (promoting your mission and investing in education), will appeal to Millennial healthcare employees and lower your turnover rates for this group of workers.

Editor’s Note:  This is Part 2 in a 2-part blog series.

By Stephanie Salmich

Social media icons appear: These tips on how to use social media in healthcare can help you improve patient engagement.

Social Media in Healthcare: HOW to Use It & Improve Patient Engagement

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Social Media in Healthcare: HOW to Use It & Improve Patient Engagement

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

These tips on how to use social media in healthcare, including using healthcare hashtags (like #patientengagement ), can help you improve patient engagement.

These tips on how to use social media in healthcare can help you improve patient engagement.

Last week we covered the benefits of using social media in healthcare and 3 reasons WHY your healthcare facility needs a social media presence.

Here are some specific tips on HOW to use social media in healthcare to improve patient engagement:

Improve patient engagement. Social media in healthcare can improve patient engagement because it encourages patients to take a more active role in their healthcare experience. Social media sites are meant to connect people! As you use social media, make it your goal to improve patient engagement and let that goal inform the content you share.

Support your patients. Patients need emotional support when it comes to dealing with physical and mental health issues. You can use social media to provide helpful resources, including recommendations for virtual support groups where patients can find encouragement from the experiences of others going through similar situations (or share their own stories). These online communities can be vital to the emotional well-being of patients with rare conditions who have trouble finding (or attending) a face-to-face group, or for those who simply prefer an online environment.

Educate your patients. Use social media to share healthy living tips, post informational blogs, or promote your organization’s public health campaigns. Social media provides an excellent opportunity to make public health campaigns highly interactive, further helping you to improve patient engagement. You can find some great real-life examples here.

VISUALS. Some social media users don’t take the time to read lengthy articles, so try delivering your message using visuals. Pictures, infographics, memes, and videos grab users’ attention as they scroll online, convey an idea quickly, and are shared easily across different social media sites.

Use healthcare hashtags to connect. The Healthcare Hashtag Project has organized an extensive database of healthcare hashtags currently in use. Access to the list is free and can help you select popular healthcare hashtags relevant to the topics, articles, and images you post.

Make sure your online presence is always mobile-friendly! Many users access social media primarily (or solely) on their smartphones. In fact, 90% of those who use Facebook on a daily basis do so via mobile phones. Patients or potential future patients may access your website by following a link from your Facebook page. So be sure to complete a mobile-friendly test. Websites that don’t pass the test can appear to have unprofessional formatting issues when viewed on a smartphone.

Be aware of ethical standards for online conduct and legal regulations. Patient privacy and HIPAA compliance are always top concerns when any form of communication with patients is considered. It’s important to know the laws, educate your employees, and develop an organizational social media policy. However, don’t let fear or inexperience deter you from using social media. The advantages of using social media in healthcare and its power to improve patient engagement make learning to navigate the rules and regulations well worth it.

For additional tips on using social media in healthcare, check out the CDC’s Social Media Toolkit for health communicators. The more you learn about this valuable tool, the better you can leverage it to reach your patients and improve patient engagement.

By Stephanie Salmich

Hospitals with ‘Superior’ Customer Experience Achieve 50% Higher Net Margins

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Hospitals with ‘Superior’ Customer Experience Achieve 50% Higher Net Margins

Posted on Mon, Jun 06, 2016

Cost Cutting Measures Don’t Pay in Comparison to Increased Revenues from Happy Patients

We have entered the era of patient-as-consumer, who shops around for the best price and value for their medical services, and the associated Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). Facing these growing market factors, many healthcare organizations are trying to figure out how to maximize their patient experience. However, faced with constantly increasing costs and tight budgets, the question is how much to spend on these initiatives and what the ROI looks like.Fortunately, a study was recently released that provides more concrete data to answer these questions. And it’s a surprisingly powerful argument for the importance – actually, the necessity – for prioritizing the customer experience in healthcare.

“U.S. hospitals that deliver ‘superior’ customer experience achieve net margins that are 50 percent higher, on average, than those of hospitals providing ‘average’ customer experience.” 

This finding (from the study just released by Accenture Consulting) supports the idea that improving the patient experience is significantly more valuable for hospitals’ bottom lines than cost cutting measures. Based on six years of hospital income margin data combined with customer experience surveys, the report found that hospitals with high HCAHPS scores are growing at an above-average rate, with revenue growth exceeding operating expenses in those hospitals.

So if these findings are taken as representative of a forward-looking industry trend, we can summarize like this: Cost-cutting measures don’t pay. Making people happy (and healthier) does.

Of equal importance, the survey noted that this finding is true across hospitals of every size and type — “For-profits, non-profits, academic, non-academic, urban, rural, stand-alone hospitals and those that are part of a major health system” — and that the “correlation is historical and growing in importance over time.”

Two Key Strategies to Further Improve the Patient Experience

Many hospitals have been working on creating a successful patient experience for some time. While there is no “one size fits all” solution to deliver a superior customer experience, there are two key strategies that apply to any facility seeking to build on its existing customer experience programs.

Establish an Environment That is Caring & Attentive

Patients and their families are often at one of their lowest, most vulnerable points when in the care of a hospital or medical center. While emotions and sensitivity are running high, it’s easy to get upset over small errors or delays. However, patients who feel that the medical and support staff care about them personally are more likely to be understanding of small inconveniences and frustrations. Creating this environment of caring and personal attention establishes trust and comfort between the patient and the hospital staff.

Creating a caring environment needs to be consistent from the top to the very bottom. Hospital staff should feel that their employer cares about them as well. The key to achieving this is to know and understand your patients and staff. Identify what matters to them, and what they will appreciate. This can be done via surveys as well as patient information and tracking data.

Whether patients appreciate easy access to drinking water, more accurate estimates of nurse response times, or more daylight in the waiting and patient rooms, there will be specific interests that are most important to your facility’s patients and those are the items to address. Similarly, staff may need more accurate predictive staffing and scheduling to minimize surges and overcrowding, access to healthier snacks, or more comfortable flooring on which to stand all day.

When a hospital can truly understand their patients and staff, then it can respond and create a caring and attentive environment.

Walk in Your Patients’ Shoes (See Your Facility from Their Perspective)

Have you ever watched “Undercover Boss”? The owner or CEO of a company goes undercover as a temporary or new employee to experience working at the company from a different perspective. The lessons are usually eye-opening.

To get a fresh perspective on your facility’s patient experience, spend a day once a year walking in your patients’ shoes. Park in the patient parking lot and watch how the other drivers find a space. (Does it take a long time? Is it crowded or difficult to navigate?) Walk to the main door, go through the registration process, and watch other people navigating their way to appointments. Is the wayfinding signage truly easy to interpret?

Delays and frustrations can result from a single missing or illegible sign, or outdated parking configurations. You may never identify these kinds of operational missteps from your own office.

Patient tracking software like ActiveTrack can provide personalized wayfinding maps to patients who check-in at a kiosk or greeter station; route patients to registrars with the skills to handle their individual needs (i.e. language preferences or financial consulting); and can notify clinical staff of patient arrivals and registration status by text, page or email, and can be used as a communication tool between registration and clinical departments. 

ActiveTRACK captures real-time registration metrics during the patient tracking process, and enables management to monitor multiple areas across a single or multi-facility campus from a central location.It also measures patient registration and clinical wait times, registration times, and clinical throughput times to give management the information they need to improve efficiency, reduce patient wait times, and improve patient satisfaction. 

Learn more about how ActiveTrack is helping hospitals nationwide improve their customer experience ratings.