Outline Communications Strategy by 50A1Mpa2


Shared decision making implementation programme

1   Context

    Provide a bit of background to your project as a backdrop to the communication strategy. Outline who you are and what the project is trying to
    achieve for your patients, health care professionals and the organisation.

2   Objectives

    Your objectives should ensure that your communications strategy is project driven rather than communications driven. Your communications
    activity is not an end in itself but should serve and hence be aligned with your implementation programme objectives. Ask yourself what you can
    do within communications to help your project achieve its core objectives.

    Examples might include:

          To raise awareness and understanding of the positive changes and benefits that shared decision making will bring to patients, healthcare
           professionals and the organisation
          To engage staff within the shared decision making implementation team/s and keep them up to speed with the project plans and progress
           against the
          To encourage patients/public to get involved in the initiative and understand the benefits of shared decision making
          To manage expectations by providing a realistic view of the change and what will be happening and when
          To ensure that shared decision making is viewed as a resource that is supporting the transformation of services offered by the
           organisation and that patient care and experience is improved
          To ensure communication is focused, consistent, timely and effective
3   Audiences

    It might be useful to complete a stakeholder mapping exercise before you complete this section. You are aiming to identify those audiences with
    whom you need to communicate to achieve your objectives.

    Examples might include
        The core clinical team
        Current and future patients and their family and/or carers
        The wider clinical team
        Clinical staff across the organisation/patient pathway
        Middle management and support staff
        Executive Board
        Commissioners

3   Key Messages

    Messages may vary during the lifetime of the project (slippage, unexpected change) however strategic targeting and consistency are key to your
    project’s promotion. Creating a comprehensive case covering all the key messages, and emphasising the different elements of the project for
    different audiences is very important.

    To maximise impact you should be able to summarise the project’s benefits in three brief, key points which can be constantly repeated.
    Remember that storytelling is a powerful method of communication: use interesting narrative, human interest stories and arresting imagery. The
    ‘Ask Three Questions’ approach of the MAGIC project is a key example in shared decision making.

4   Communication Tools and Activities Approaches

    There are many different communication & social marketing techniques you could use, and learning from other parts of your organisation or
    other projects can be really helpful in fast tracking your project communication strategy. Many people will be happy to share their literature and
    experiences so it’s worth asking around. External organisations involved in the project (e.g. local authority, voluntary sector) may be prepared to
    include items in newsletter, websites, meetings etc. Examples of some of the things you might consider include:
          Face-to-face: Key networks such as trust boards and sub-committees, local forums, user groups/public forums, Staff Side, team
           meetings, conferences, seminars, presentations, inductions and training sessions
          Print-based: General publications and communications produced by the organisation can advertise the project e.g. service brochures,
           board papers, staff bulletins, annual reports, press releases, leaflets and posters
          Electronic and audio-visual: Organisational websites, intranet, e.g. notice boards and news items, weekly/monthly e-mail bulletins
          Information push – where users will get information directly through face to face presentations/briefings, newsletters, emails, guidance
          Information pull – where users can go to a central source for more detailed information that is relevant to them in a particular area such
           as local intranet and organisation website
          Standardise formats/style – in order to foster a strong identity and image for the project, it may be worth developing a set of
           standardised reporting tools for everyone to use The ‘Ask Three Questions’ format developed by the MAGIC programme is a great
           example of this

5   Resources and Timescales

    Be clear about the resources you have dedicated to this work and the timescales you are seeking to meet. The key rules to observe are always
    to deliver what you promise and never over promise. Use your resources and timescales to set legitimate levels of expectations - you may also
    then wish to outline the case for increased dedicated resources.

6   Evaluation and Amendment

    It’s always a good idea to measure the success of any communication plan and its deliverables. For client surveys, use open questions with
    appropriate prompts and benchmarks and, if possible, get someone independent to do the work. Consider and discuss the results carefully and
    use them to amend your strategy.

    Example questions you might consider asking are:
    • What do you read/see/hear?
    • What works/doesn’t work?
    • What do you want to see more of?
    • What information do you need that you are not currently supplied with?
    • How often do you want us to communicate with you?

    While drawing up your strategy, you should involve your team, and on a smaller scale, the entire organisation. Feed the communications strategy
    into the project’s overall strategy to ensure maximum alignment and efficiency.
Target audience                 Approach/Objectives   Action   Timings

Core clinical team
and support staff

Current and future patients
and their family and/or

Clinical staff across the
organisation/ patient
pathway (wider team/s)

Middle management
(aligned to the core clinical
team and wider team/s)

Board/ Senior Management


Associated organisations-
local authority, voluntary
sector etc.
Other Resources

Impact Strategy

Social media toolkits

Communication Strategy

Communication Strategy and Stakeholder Analysis

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