Early in the pandemic, institutional leadership recognised the importance of providing staff with practical, clinically based communication resources. This paper describes the process of cultivating and disseminating rapid communication resources across a multisite institution to assist others who may need to rapidly respond to communication challenges in the future.
In April 2020, the Mayo Healthcare Incident Command System charged the Center for Palliative Medicine with developing and disseminating clinical communication resources within several weeks. The Education Chair for the Center for Palliative Medicine created a COVID-19 communication task force composed of clinician-educators with expertise in serious illness communication from all three academic Mayo Clinic sites. The task force elected to focus on providing accessible, just-in-time online content curated from existing resources and adapted to situational needs.
The task force developed one-page resources with example language on 16 topic areas. Topics included exploring patient values, discussing time-limited trials and making recommendations. The COVID-19 communication website was launched on 28 May, 6 weeks after the institutional request.
Key takeaway lessons were the need for: (1) alignment with institutional need and priority, (2) rapid team formation with communication education experts across a variety of institutional geographic settings, (3) quick consensus on topic and content delivery to be practically helpful to clinicians, (4) collaboration with outside groups to use and adapt already available resources when possible and (5) early and iterative involvement with information specialists to help facilitate institutional dissemination.