Thursday, April 28, 2005

Communications System: A ‘Tailored Tools’ Approach

Sarah-Jane Downing and Kit Johnson.

A strong Communication System (CS) binds all elements of a quality system together and is imperative to function effectively in the global community of public health laboratories and partners.

Develop a comprehensive CS to ensure effective dissemination of information at all levels, thereby strengthening partnerships, increasing customer confidence, improving employee satisfaction, and creating advocates at all levels.

The implementation plan for a CS follows a ‘Tailored Tools' philosophy where each communication endeavor is evaluated to ensure the best communication tools are employed to disseminate particular information to a specific audience. Steps include development of rally point, highlighting communication in process management, website evolving with technological advances meeting customer needs, publication of achievement report, serial internal and external newsletter, structured dissemination of pertinent public health information to media, recruitment of Communications Advisor to centralize communication strategies and coordinate identification of future internal and external initiatives that support the organizational goals. By taking a structured approach, communication quality can be evaluated and quantified. Analysis of web traffic enables tailoring of website, expanded name-recognition evaluated by survey, increased recognition by media evaluated by number of articles published mentioning ProvLab, success of publications assessed by catalogued formal responses and email feedback forum.

Results of CS include:
·Increased productivity recouping time lost on correcting miscommunication,
·Improved internal and external client satisfaction with transition and changes affecting several program areas and levels across the laboratory,
·Increased recognition and client confidence leads to strengthened advocacy

Implementation of CS increases organizational productivity, improves internal and external client satisfaction, and elevates recognition creating advocacy at all levels. CS effectively manages information dissemination to guide the organization to success.

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