“Communicating clearly with internal staff during an EHR implementation is imperative, and with a system the size of Southcoast Health, we knew that wouldn’t be easy. Partnering with Brandigo proved to be the right move. They really know healthcare, they understood our challenges and provided the guidance we needed every step of the way.”

JIM FEEN
Associate CIO, CHCIO Epic Program Manager Southcoast Health

How we helped:

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    Internal Communications Strategy
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    Internal Communications Portal Design and Development
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    Content Creation and Design
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    External Patient Communication Strategy
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    Public Relations Strategy


Results


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Challenge:
Getting the Team Onboard with a Major Change

Comprised of four leading hospitals and a physician network of over 450 providers, Southcoast Health is a premier community-based health delivery system offering an integrated continuum of services in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with more than 55 service locations.

When Southcoast executives chose to migrate to the Epic™ Electronic Health Record (EHR), they knew that an initiative of this magnitude would require some outside (assistance in several key areas. Not the least of these would be the considerable challenge of successfully communicating the significant, impending change to their employees. After learning of Brandigo’s extensive healthcare experience, they reached out for help.

Strategy:
A Comprehensive Communications Plan

Southcoast chose to partner with Brandigo in several key areas, not the least of which was to develop and drive the process of creating and implementing their EHR implementation communications strategy. After initial brainstorming workshop sessions with the Southcoast Epic Team to identify the organization’s goals and objectives, a comprehensive communications strategy and tactical plan was developed to support those defined objectives and delivering specifics regarding timelines and processes.

Serving as the information-sharing hub of our initiative was the Epic Resource Center, Brandigo designed and developed an internal communications portal consisting of:

  • Timelines, schedules and Go-Live dates
  • Audience-specific blogs, often written by Brandigo
  • FAQs
  • A question-submission forum
  • Various timely and important alerts
  • Training schedules
  • Go-Live-specific information, tip sheets, and more

In addition, a Southcoast Epic Communications Team was organized, comprised of a cross-section of Southcoast staff and physicians, as well as the Brandigo Southcoast Team. Brandigo made arrangements to lead and facilitate bi-monthly status meetings where team members from both organizations were able to collaborate to keep processes moving forward and the Epic migration on track.

Most significant among Brandigo’s roles in the Southcoast Epic initiative were the content strategy, creation, and management contributions. For any endeavor requiring change management and organization-wide communication, compelling content is the engine that drives the ship.

Brandigo’s Healthcare Content Team worked closely with the Southcoast Epic Team to determine messaging topics and the appropriate stakeholder audience for each. Then Brandigo’s writers created regular, ongoing blogs in the voice of Southcoast leadership, emails and assorted printed materials targeted toward the different internal stakeholders.

It’s not just internal communications that Brandigo delivered for Southcoast. The team also helped them with their messaging to patients, particularly around MyChart, Southcoast’s patient-facing Epic component. Through a series of blogs, posters, pull-up banners, brochures, press releases and animated videos created by Brandigo, it’s now easy and enjoyable for patients to learn about the new EHR and the many beneficial ways it will affect their care and treatment.

After multiple Go-Lives were executed with resounding success, Brandigo has ensured a smooth overall launch. While any IT initiative of this size is guaranteed to have its challenges, the consistent update meetings have helped the Southcoast Team to focus on arising issues and quickly communicate the solutions necessary to prevent those issues from becoming more significant hurdles.

Results:
An Engaged and Active Employee base

The success of the program may be measured by employee engagement, which is reflected in the usage of the communications portal.

Far exceeding Southcoast’s expectations, the traffic generated via the portal resulted in:

  • 43,734 unique site visits
  • 119,409 site interactions
  • 337,528 recorded page views

The significant level of engagement means that employees in the Southcoast Health network have used the site as it was intended and have benefited from the information located there as the organization migrated to the new system.

Brandigo continues to work with the team at Southcoast to manage internal communications for their latest ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) project, as they transition their existing finance, supply chain and HR/payroll resources to one electronic system. Much like the Epic migration, this coming project will involve comprehensive employee education in order to communicate the benefits of the transition and share important information that will lessen the learning curve associated with the change.

From their initial recommendation to create an Epic communications portal, to the creation and management of our comprehensive internal communications program, Brandigo delivered what we needed to help make our switch to Epic a success.

JIM FEEN
Associate CIO, CHCIO Epic Program Manager Southcoast Health