This article is the fourth in a nine-part series of article by Dr Terry Loftus. The series seeks to provide guidance to health care facilities seeking to develop their own successful in-house robotic surgery program that builds on Dr Loftus’ Seven-pillars Program Last week in part three we looked at the role that engagement plays in creating a successful programme. This week we will focus on the role of communication.
A thorough understanding of who your stakeholders are, is the beginning of any effective communication plan for your Robotics Program. Leave one of your stakeholders off the list of those with whom you will be communicating, and it could create some real problems for the success of your program. We’re going to start with the most obvious group first, and that is the members of your Robotics Committee. They are not just members of your committee, they are also your program’s ambassadors to the hospital and community. If this group does not understand, and cannot effectively communicate what the program is doing and accomplishing, then other stakeholder groups will receive conflicting information.
There are two basic documents for supporting communication with your Committee members. They are an agenda and meeting minutes. Do not neglect the importance of these documents. The agenda is a forward-looking document. It describes what you will be addressing in the future. The meeting minutes are a backward-looking document. It describes what the team discussed, and found important enough to put in writing. One looks at what we would like to accomplish as a team, and the other looks at what we were able to accomplish as a team. It seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? It is amazing how often this simple form of communication is neglected.
Don’t forget there are other stakeholder groups you will need to communicate with on a regular basis. These include: hospital administration, medical staff leadership, surgeons, nursing staff and the community which you serve. A simple way to do support this communication is with a regular (monthly/quarterly) newsletter. Keep it simple and limit it to one page. Put only the most important and pressing news in it. With electronic distribution, this will not only save on printing costs, you will be able to embed links in it. This allows you to provide additional information to members who would like to know more about the program. It is a great way to showcase the success of your program. The more informed your stakeholders are; the more likely they are to support your efforts. Informed and engaged stakeholders are one of the best assets a Robotics Program can possess and communication is key to achieving this.
Dr. Loftus has over 30 years of experience as a Healthcare Industry provider and executive. He has held leadership roles in large integrated delivery networks where he served as Medical Director for Surgical Services & Clinical Resources and successfully implemented a Robotics Program. Dr. Loftus is a speaker and consultant for various firms in the Robotic surgery and medical devices space. He currently works as a CMO for HCA, Medical City Fort Worth. To learn more, download a free PDF copy of The Robotics Program: A How-to-Guide for Physician Leaders on Starting Up a Successful Program.