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    StanfordMed Pulse

    Stanford University School of Medicine
    Print and Digital Publishing: Internal Audience - Gold

    The Stanford Medicine Office of Communications’ Internal Communications team manages an electronic internal newsletter called StanfordMed Pulse. The newsletter was created at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide daily updates on COVID-19 policies, guidelines, and practices. Pulse is delivered each weekday via email to approximately 55,000 people across Stanford Medicine.

    The pandemic highlighted the need to push out critical information to Stanford Medicine staff, nurses, physicians, medical students, faculty, and managers — many of whom were experiencing serious burnout and had been overloaded with COVID-19 information. Many also didn’t have regular access to email. The average monthly open rate for Pulse dropped from a high of 50.5% in April 2021 to a low of 27% in October 2021. This alarming downward trend confirmed what we suspected — that Pulse in its current state was too long, confusing to navigate, and hard to consume. We saw an opportunity to ensure that we share crucial updates to as many people as possible, restore the Pulse average monthly open rate to April 2021 levels, and reinforce Pulse as the primary push mechanism to our newest internal communications channel, StanfordMed TODAY.

    What was the most impactful part of your entry?
    The most impactful part of this entry is that reinforcing StanfordMed Pulse as the primary push mechanism to our newest internal channel, StanfordMed TODAY, has improved the organization’s culture, performance, and compliance:

    • The Stanford Health Care (SHC) Engagement Pulse survey response rate has been 70% or higher since the launch of StanfordMed TODAY, with at least 40% of our employees identifying as “fully engaged” — the highest possible rating.
    • Our triennial Joint Commission survey this past summer resulted in high marks on the safety of our patient care and on our practices, culture, and improvement efforts.
    • One hundred percent of the SHC workforce complied with our COVID-19 vaccination policy: 98% with their vaccination series and 2% with approved accommodations.

    What is one thing you learned from your entry/experience?
    We learned that the internal communications team — and the internal channels we manage — must evolve to meet the changing needs of our workforce as we transitioned out of the COVID-19 pandemic. We went from providing necessary COVID-19 protocol updates to also being intentional about offering content that’s easier to access and absorb and that fosters engagement by everyone who works at Stanford Medicine — from nurses and physicians to cooks and janitors. It’s also important that we serve as a conduit for building community during an ongoing public health crisis and build connections between people who support each other in doing their best work. StanfordMed Pulse allows us to celebrate each other and find moments of joy and comfort in tough times.

    Alison Peterson