Different Cultures Understand Medicine Differently

Relevancy Builds Trust

In this week’s guest blog “Multilingual Patient Information Guides:  Living Beyond Cancer,” MTM LinguaSoft’s Jen Horner explains “Different cultures understand illness and medicine differently, presenting information in culturally relevant terms is essential for establishing trust and comprehension.”

Connecting people to trusted breast cancer information and a community of support, ensuring no one impacted by breast cancer feels uninformed or alone is the mission of Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC,) a nonprofit organization.

LBBC  engaged MTM LinguaSoft to translate its information guide for newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer patients into Chinese, French, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

“We could not take for granted that the patients were familiar with US healthcare jargon,” Horner says.  “We drew on our network for bilingual, bi-cultural experts on women’s health in immigrant communities.  Each consultant reviewed the English source text and recommended changes to make it more relevant.”

Click to read Jen Horner’s article.

Building Strong Internal Support Strategies

Engaged Employees are Happier

The New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCO)’s April healthcare communications webinar focused on keeping employees engaged with targeted, streamlined internal communications.

Employees that are connected to their leadership provide better patient care, and healthcare communicators should strive to set tones that resonate with every doctor, nurse, administrator, and staff member.

Establish Trust with Your Audience

Actionable internal communications start by articulating a mission and generating a vision, i.e., being your patients’ choice for the most coordinated and personalized care.

The first step is to establish trust with your audience. Rather than using a corporate voice, it should be more relatable. Healthcare organizations have diverse workforces that may be working in many different locations, so messages should also be localized, yet integrated.

What Do Employees Want to Know?

The webinar presenter used surveys to learn more about what resonates with employees, with some surprising answers. Number one was employee benefits, followed by job-related information, including how to fill out specific forms. Employees also wanted to know about short and long-term company strategies and leadership announcements.

Most employees get their information from emails and speaking with managers in small groups (huddles); old school methods like leaving flyers in cafeterias or mailboxes are no longer relevant. Emails work especially well when tailored for different employees.

One of the examples was a “Manager’s Minute” piece that contained:

  1. news
  2. action items
  3. links that provided guidance to help managers feel comfortable with complex topics.

These emails were especially useful for managers to prepare for employee huddles. They are now seen as trusted communicators who share valuable knowledge that benefits employees.

Really, Who Has Time to Read?

Today’s employee newsletters drive their points home when they have:

  1. Less text
  2. More pictures
  3. Useful links
  4. Relevant content

Employees may not always have time to read, so the messages should be bright and accessible, focusing on things they care about. Details about employee discounts, hyper-local information, financial wellness, even healthy recipes and desk exercises may align with their interests.

Digital signs are another useful tool that can integrate messages, videos, and other internal communications. The webinar presenter discussed the company’s TV show, which is shown on their digital signage. A “Patient Experience Week” segment highlighted emotional patient success stories, volunteer work, and employee awards. Employees are encouraged to share these experiences responsibly, following company social media policy. It is also important to keep this media in employee-facing areas, since it may not be geared for patient viewing.

The Value of Metrics

Metrics provide tactical guidance for healthcare communicators, and are integral to internal communications. These platforms can measure what percentages of employees open emails, and which are clicked through and read. This information can be broken down by the type of employee as well.  Results can then be compared to initial surveys, to see if they are in alignment. Interpreting metrics to tailor internal communications can streamline messages so that your employees will want to read them. Why?  Because it is content that they care about.

Volunteers Want to Know Their Time is Valued

Don’t Overlook a Simple Thank You

April is National Volunteer Month and this year SPRYTE had the opportunity to interview amazing volunteers and spend hours writing blogs about them for our clients.

The majority of generous souls we talked to volunteered as companions to seniors.  Their dedication and compassion are humbling.  And, the amount of time they contribute and that they actually have to contribute, is substantial.

Unknowing organizations are too often shocked to know that many wonderful volunteers resign because of their interactions with professional staff and other volunteers.

Taking Advantage of a Volunteer’s Generosity

My own Mom abruptly quit her volunteer job a few months ago with no notice.

She was making an incredible weekly contribution to a respite program for spouses at her continuing care retirement community.  For two hours once a week, she led afternoon activities for a small group of elderly women suffering from dementia. Their husbands would drop them off for five hours total, which included lunch.

After lunch is when the fun began.  My Mom put a lot of creativity and planning time in to the sessions and the feedback all around was stellar.  The participants were fully engaged and the stretched-thin staff social worker was thrilled.  She got a lot of positive feedback.

But one day she accompanied the group to a musical program in a different location on the campus and a staffer ordered her to take one of the participants to the Ladies room.  That one simple, inappropriate request was a trigger.  It crossed the line.  Without belaboring it, my Mom resigned from the program.  What a loss to the participants. Instead of being engaged in well thought out group cognitive activities, their time will be more custodial until a new resource is found.

My Dad is quitting his volunteer job at the continuing care retirement community too.  A retired PhD think tank economist, he has volunteered for the IRS at tax time for nearly 20 years.  He helps seniors file their tax returns.

Apparently, the foreman at his volunteer location is a miserable bully.  He barks out people’s last names and requires the volunteer to trot up to his throne when called.  My Dad finds it demeaning and distracting when he’s trying to complete as many returns as possible for the helpless seniors.

Tax Day Was His Last Day

Anyway, the week before last my Dad was in the community bank branch as was the IRS volunteer foreman.  The gentleman ignored my Dad, he didn’t say hello, there wasn’t any gesture of recognition.  My Dad stuck it out through Tax Day but now he’s quitting because the volunteer environment is so toxic and besides a horrible volunteer boss, no one has ever thanked him.

SPRYTE’s Operations Manager Steve Ehrlich, a prolific volunteer photographer, said “Volunteers need to be thanked.  Volunteers do not work for money. They work because they believe in the cause.”

Steve shoots loads of community and charitable events.  He reminisced, “I just recently photographed a major event. I delivered the finished photos very quickly (event was Sunday night, photos delivered late Monday night.)  I did not get a thank you reply to my email.  I did get recognition in the program and my photos were posted on Facebook with a credit, I just did not get a personal thank you.”

Steve summed it up, “Most volunteers want to know that their work is appreciated after they have completed it.”

This is a good time to remember how the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations in 2019:

Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

Non profit organizations and other industries like hospice that engage volunteers must remember that volunteers are an important public.  Their experience can contribute greatly to an organization’s reputation in the marketplace.  Many volunteers who contribute their time also contribute money to the causes they love.  Do you agree?  Volunteers’ experiences must be as positive as possible.  Anything less has potential to reflect poorly upon the organization.

-Lisa Simon.

 

Recognizing the Wonderful Work of Caregivers Each February

National Caregivers Day recognizes the wonderful work of caregivers who tirelessly give of themselves for others.

Last Friday, National Caregivers Day was observed, as it has been, on the third Friday in February, since it was created just four years ago in 2015 by the Providers Association for Home Health & Hospice Agencies.

SPRYTE was lucky to be introduced and retained by a wonderful national home care company, Griswold Home Care, by mentor and friend of the agency Lonny Strum. He’s our guest blogger this week. Lonny’s blog in appreciation of caregivers is very personal but it also sheds light on the huge numbers of individuals receiving care in our country.

Read Lonny Stum’s Blog here.

SPRYTE Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Milestone Inspires a Special Punch made with Sprite

In celebration of SPRYTE Communications’ 2nd Anniversary last Thursday, January 31st, I posted an article on LinkedIn, my first.

In the spirit of repurposing, my article is this week’s SPRYTE Insights Blog.  You might have also seen the recipe for our 2nd Anniversary Punch on SPRYTE’s social media channels.  In case you were wondering, it was as delicious as our 1st Anniversary Punch.

A professional colleague asked me if I was having a two-year-old tantrum?  Of course, I am!  I own a healthcare public relations agency in 2019.  There’s nothing calm about it.

But the best part of being so young is how optimistic we feel.  And, as you can imagine, specializing in healthcare providers in one of America’s healthcare headquarters is stacking up to be a very good place to be.  – Lisa Simon

Do you work for an organization that has struggled with the best way to celebrate a milestone anniversary? It’s not uncommon to not know how much to budget, whether it’s more important to celebrate internally or externally or both or, my favorite, whether to look backward or forward. I say this from experience. Anniversaries have been key times for organizations to engage a PR firm or for agencies to perform the anniversary heavy lifting within an existing client relationship. We’ve supported and delighted in many client anniversaries over the years including:

Bristol Riverside Theater 5th
Cherry Hill Mall 50th
Children’s Seashore House 125th
City of Philadelphia Fairmount Water Works       200th
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care 20th
Drexel University School of Public Health 10th
Griswold Home Care 35th
Har Zion Temple 75th
HomeCare Associates 10th & 20th
Hotel Atop The Bellevue 90th
Kenneseth Israel 150th
Mt. Airy USA 30th
Office Basics 25th
Pearl Pressman Printers 100th
Robins’ Nest 45th
Rohm and Haas Bristol Plant 75th
VNA-Community Services 75th
VNA of Greater Philadelphia 125th
Willow Grove Park Mall 10th & 100th
Wistar Institute 100th
YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity 150th

 

Our depth in anniversary celebrations was gained before our reinvention as SPRYTE Communications on January 31st 2017. I’m humbled by how many of these anniversary celebrations were for healthcare providers. It must have been an omen!

Part of being the new us is appropriateness. So, like organizations every where, even with all this anniversary experience, I struggled with how to celebrate SPRYTE’s second anniversary today. It means so much to me personally, as you can imagine, but you might be thinking, who cares? That’s not uncommon for the non celebrants. I won’t divulge all of our anniversary celebration details but I am sharing our 2nd Anniversary Punch Recipe, which we’ll be enjoying at lunch in a few hours.

Please join me today in toasting SPRYTE Communications’ second anniversary.

Spryte Communications