Virtual vs Barrier – What is the best way to communicate in a pandemic?
I was requested to provide some support to Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) recently and while entering their Emergency Department I was surprised to find a “Big Green Box” in the way of the entrance. What would a “Big Green Box” be used for? To my surprise, I found that this was the first stage check-in before visiting the hospital. I had to go to the window, answer some basic questions through what looked like at least a 6mm Perspex window all to ensure that I was not a carrier of that dreaded virus.
This led me to think about the need for this structure, essentially a barrier between me and the hospital staff. Was this the best way to stop the virus from potentially spreading from a visitor to hospital staff? Now, I am no virus expert, however, I do work in the communications industry and this barrier method intrigued me. Would it be a better way to minimize the spread of a virus over virtual technology?
Have you experienced this change in communication? Do you have a “Big Green Box” as a barrier or has virtual communication become the norm for you since the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic destabilized the world? Most companies I work with have been affected in one way or another.
Having to adapt to the ‘new way’ of life has had a large impact on the capacities and support hospitals can pass on to their patients.
Some organizations adapted by implementing an accelerated move to virtual telehealth technology. This allowed a virtual conversation with no chance of a virus spreading. Other facilities adopted a barrier method where measures were put in place to physically stop people from being able to touch each other. The goal of all these organizations is to minimize the contact between patients and staff which would, in turn, minimize the spread of the virus.
How effective are these changes? Have they led to an improvement in communication?
I believe that there remains a place for both options. There are times when direct communication is necessary, therefore a barrier is essential. However, I believe that there is also a good case to transition to virtual communications to minimize unnecessary direct contact.
What do you think?