Innovator: Terrina Thomas, MS, CHES
Position: Director, Health and Preventive Services, Sentara Healthcare
VHIN: As the winner of our Game-Changer Award in Employee Health, you know a little bit about how employers, healthcare providers, and health plans, can work together to improve population health! What are some “lessons learned” from your experience implementing Mission: Health?
As you can imagine, over time, we have had a few bumps in the road but also some great wins! The biggest lesson we have learned is to communicate, communicate, communicate. We say it three times because it needs to happen in at least 3 places. Those would be with each of the stakeholders’ upper management, the employees affected by the programming and your internal team. Without extensive communication and planning, a program probably won’t make it. Communication is very important from upper management down as well. When the program is important to management and they are participating too, it sends a strong message to employees. Top level executives, directors, managers and team coordinators need to know about the program and participate openly.
Another good thing is to get really good at asking the question correctly. There is nothing worse than asking a question in one way but it gets interpreted another way. This can lead to confusion, frustration and failure. When questions are asked, make sure they are asked again as a clarifying question, so there is greater success in that everyone understands the context of the idea.