Breaking down hospital communications silos with social: Anthony Lucic [Profile]
One of the challenges of working in hospital communications is the decentralized nature of organizations comprised of very distinct units with distinct objectives, according to Anthony Lucic. Anthony is the Team Lead, Digital Communications at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario; a large, inner-city teaching hospital with a level-one trauma centre. Anthony is responsible for communications via the Hospital’s various digital properties including web, social media and onsite digital screens.
“My viewpoint is that we would like to work toward a common understanding of our brand, our expertise and a unified perspective that would support better communications,” said Anthony. “More hospitals are moving in that direction with more prominence around a communications department, with marketing and communications leadership at the senior management level.”
At St. Michael’s, Anthony has been a part of communications initiatives that have been breaking down silos. The hospital recently launched an internal blog, taking the approach of putting the conversation, versus technology, first. The team started by finding internal contributors who are ready to put their views forward on a specific subject, in this case, how to improve quality at the hospital. This has led to a groundswell of engagement, in terms of people reading, reacting to and discussing the views shared on the blog.
“Starting from a social angle generates buy-in and interest. This is something I have come to understand about communicating change in an organization like St. Michael’s,” explained Anthony. “Communications today are about starting at the grassroots level and working upward versus implementing a mandate from above. As communicators, we want to give our audience the megaphone. This has been a hard lesson for me; thinking less about process and more about people and what they have to say. However, once I figured out this approach, I was able to advance our communications much more quickly and effectively – and acting as a coach and enabler for people has become the best part of my role.”
Anthony is also benefitting from the ‘socialization’ of communications from a professional development perspective. To continue his ongoing learning and to spark innovation, he connects with sector colleagues in different ways including through social media, traditional networking and conferences and sometimes, just picking up the phone to discuss something new or interesting he has seen them implement.
“Social media is breaking down barriers and creating a culture that is more conducive to collaboration. The ease of access created by social media is pulling us out of our silos and creating new opportunities to connect,” said Anthony. “It allows us to see the opportunity to share knowledge and how connecting drives innovation and collaboration. I see this with my industry colleagues and it’s certainly working internally at St. Michael’s.”