Communication Vehicles

Only after you identify your objectives, your audience, background context and your key messages, can you determine the best way to get your message out.

Some things to consider when completing this section are as follows:

  • your audience’s preferred communication channel
  • constraints on technology access
  • geographic barriers (can you get all audience members in the same room)
  • fact that some messages might resonate better through specific communication delivery methods (e.g., video or pictures rather than words)

See a list of the communication vehicles available to you.

Budget

It is important to have a clear picture of how much money you have available to spend on communicating about something before deciding on how to communicate it. For example, if you have a budget of $100 for your campaign, the plan to build a custom website and print 2,000 colour posters will probably need to be reconsidered.

Key steps

The activity plan is a timeline that outlines what must take place, at what time, in order for the strategy to be successful. The outline can be composed in chart form showing tactics for specific audience groups. It should also include timelines and assign responsibility for completion to specific individuals.

Some questions to consider:

  • What is the ideal timing based on project milestones?
  • Are there any sensitivities around timing, such as the need to notify unions before staff or to notify staff before media?
  • What are the audiences’ preferred communication channels?
  • Who needs to be involved in the delivery of face-to-face communication and how will communications help facilitate that activity?

Evaluation

How do we know if communication helped you achieve your objective? We measure and evaluate. In order to evaluate effectively, it must be built into the plan before it is executed.

Evaluation helps to determine:

  • if objectives were met
  • what worked, what didn’t and why
  • cost-effectiveness
  • what can be learned for developing future plans

Some techniques for evaluation include:

  • informal pulse-taking
  • periodic surveying or tracking
  • focus groups
  • tracking requests received for further information relating to the issue
  • tracking messages (phone, email, letters) of complaint or support
  • monitoring media and third party use of key messages

Corporate communications vehicles

There are many ways to communicate your announcement, event or good news story across Providence Health Care:

PHC News
PHC News is the core communication channel in our internal communication strategy. In May 2010, we introduced an online news system to replace the old daily email announcement process to have an improved, more formalized and focused communications vehicle:

  • Announcements are posted on the PHC News website, which is accessible from home and mobile devices.
  • The PHC News e-newsletter is sent to all PHC staff every Thursday. The e-newsletter contains a summary from each submission for that week, with links to the full stories and calendar of events on the PHC News site. When the initiative being communicated aligns with the Providence Plan, this is highlighted visually within PHC News.
  • All stories and events must be submitted via the online forms no later than noon on Wednesdays for inclusion in the following day’s e-newsletter.

For more information on how to submit a story or event to PHC News, view our Submission Guidelines.

Spotlight stories must be sent to the PHC News inbox at news@providencehealth.bc.ca no later than noon on Wednesday for the following day’s publication. Spotlight's are generally booked in advance, which can be done by emailing news@providencehealth.bc.ca.

PHC Connect
Communications & Public Affairs is responsible for the layout and content of the home page on PHC Connect, as well as our own department page and the About PHC page. For information on creating or updating your department’s intranet page, contact IMITS via intranetusersupport@vch.ca.

Events calendar (internal)
The PHC News website has an events calendar to help promote events and professional development opportunities for staff. Event announcements must be received by noon on Wednesdays, and should contain the following information:

  • title
  • description
  • target audience
  • date and time
  • cost (early bird rates)
  • location
  • registration information and deadline (include a link to a website or a contact name/email address)
  • important links (provide a link to a website with more information if possible)

For more information on how to submit an event to PHC News, view the Submission Guidelines on the PHC News website.

Events calendar (external)
Communications is responsible for posting all requested updates to the PHC website, including the external events calendar. Please send event announcements to a Communications & Public Affairs staff member with the following information:

  • title
  • description
  • target audience
  • date and time
  • cost (early bird rates)
  • location
  • registration information and deadline (include a link to a website or a contact name/email address)
  • important links (provide a link to a website with more information if possible)

Social Media
Communications & Public Affairs manages the Providence Health Care BLOOM, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest accounts. If you have news, photos or event announcements that are applicable to a public audience, please contact Communications & Public Affairs for more information on how you can utilize these tools.

Social media uses short descriptions with a link or image to relay information quickly and concisely to a wide external audience. For more information, visit the Social Media section of this site.

Annual report
PHC, a not-for-profit society, produces an annual report as a measure of accountability.

The annual report captures how we use our operating dollars and highlights key past-year achievements, while featuring staff, program, patient and resident stories representing our six populations of emphasis. PHC Communications produces this report in-house and an electronic version is posted on PHC Connect and our website.

CEO Update
PHC’s CEO Update is a bimonthly CEO newsletter that is posted on PHC Connect, referenced by the CEO in person at the monthly Expanded Leadership Forum Meeting and distributed internally to PHC’s Medical Advisory Committee, medical staff, PHC’s Board of Directors, our two foundation boards and to external stakeholders including: Vancouver Coastal Health Senior Executive Team, Fraser Health Authority Senior Executive Team, Providence Health Care Research Institute Board, PHC Board and Society, the Archbishop, City of Vancouver Councilors and Mayor, the Ministry of Health Services and a few other select health care and Catholic contacts. The CEO Update features short pieces (less than 200 words) on key corporate, strategic and operational initiatives, research breakthroughs, “firsts” and successes in the organization such as award wins, etc.

Home page of the PHC website
The home page of the Providence Health Care website features stories on current events and breakthroughs happening across PHC. These stories are intended for all public audiences, especially patients, residents and their families.

To have your story featured on the PHC website, please contact Justin Karasick, director, Communications & Public Affairs.

Have a story idea? We have many communication channels to help you find an audience.

We are always on the lookout for story ideas that demonstrate how PHC is exploring uncharted realms, how our programs are improving patient care and how our physicians, researchers and staff are shaping the delivery of health care.

Suggestions include:

  • new research breakthroughs
  • “first ever” (St. Paul’s Hospital opens B.C.’s first thyroid clinic), “best” (PHC leads in HIV/AIDS research in B.C.), “only” (PHC operates B.C.’s only heart transplantation program
  • examples of PHC’s leadership
  • new models of care
  • pilot programs
  • clinical innovations
  • grants/awards (please include source of funding and total amount received)
  • presentations/keynotes at conferences
  • events (PHC internal events, external/public events, multi-partner events)
  • articles being published in academic/industry association journals
  • programs/policies/initiatives that highlight PHC as an employer of choice
  • PHC people profiles
  • interesting, everyday “good news” stories (especially patient stories)

Please note: Submitting a story/idea does not guarantee that we will print or use it. However, submission does mean you do agree to allow Providence Health Care to use it in any of our publications, marketing materials or with media. We reserve the right to edit any copy submitted for style, grammar or length.