More time to care

The Blue Lozenge health and care reputation framework

In a world where public trust in the NHS is declining and there are huge challenges with the health and care workforce, proactively managing reputation has never been more important. We’re therefore building a reputation framework to support health and care boards and leaders.

Reputation is not about keeping negative stories out of the news media, or a lack of transparency when things go wrong. Managing reputation is about performance, behaviour and communication. It is about being honest about what’s working and what isn’t, explaining performance in a way that people understand and listening to understand what needs to be improved, then making those changes.

At Blue Lozenge we’ve adapted something called the reputation equation and applied it to health and care. It is our belief that the effective management of reputation in health and care gives all those who work in health and care more time to care.

An equation that reads: Reputation equals behaviour divided by performance. Adapted from Tony Langham's book Reputation Management 2019

There are huge benefits for health and care providers if they proactively manage their reputation, workforce and population experience. An integrated communication strategy can help to maximise the opportunities and mitigate the risks, whether this is an individual organisation or an entire integrated care system.

Whilst these benefits are myriad, some examples include:

  • A positive correlation between better healthcare employee communication and engagement and work-related commitment; a negative correlation with turnover intentions;
  • A positive correlation between higher levels of workforce engagement and reduced mortality rates in hospitals;
  • A positive link between the use of online patient feedback and better-informed quality improvement projects;
  • South London Listens – an NHS-led project engaging communities in improving services in south London – leading to the co-development of innovative and effective new clinical interventions to support mental health;
  • Strong community relationships underpinning the success of the Covid-19 vaccine campaign in improving uptake in marginalised groups.

We’ll look at each of these areas in depth in the coming months and the evidence sources behind them.

The ultimate consequence of a poor reputation in health and care is that there is less time to care. Anyone who has worked in a provider organisation supporting their improvement journey will have noticed that organisations with low public trust receive more complaints and the workforce are unwilling to advocate for the organisation. In many cases morale is sometimes so low that even those working in caring roles remove their name badges and do not want to be associated with the organisations they work for. Once communication has broken down with the public or with the workforce it raises stress and anxiety and impacts on the safety of care. Organisations and their leaders are no longer given the benefit of the doubt.

Once communication has broken down with the public and the workforce, organisations and their leaders are no longer given the benefit of the doubt.

The reputation opportunity in health and care is immense because improved communication leads to organisations and whole health systems having more time to care. This is because there is honesty and realism in interactions, people taking pride in their work, services and organisations listening and implementing change, boards spend less time focused on national or regulatory interventions.

Our Blue Lozenge health and care reputation framework and approach assesses reputation risk and opportunity across six key areas. We provide an audit and board development process to support individual providers and integrated care systems. Reputation risk and the mitigating actions you need to take are a core part of your board assurance framework. We can help you implement an actionable plan and demonstrate how strategic communication and engagement can help your organisation and system have more time to care.

If you would like more information, a copy of our full framework or a conversation about how we can support you please get in touch.