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How Northern Health is changing the way it communicates in emergencies


Four of five members of the team that implemented SnapComms is pictured.
The Northern Health SnapComms team. Left to right: Laura Johnson, Project Coordinator, Service Delivery; Jim Fitzpatrick, Director, Health Emergency Management BC, North; Anne Scott, Regional Manager, Corporate and Program Communications; Brandan Spyker, Intranet Specialist. Unavailable for photo: Amber Frizzi, Coordinator, Health Emergency Management BC, North.

During the 2017 wildfires, Northern Health facilities in Prince George and Quesnel took in more than 300 evacuees over a six-week period.

After the evacuees returned home, many departments in the organization went through a strategic review of what worked and what we could improve on if a similar situation occurred again. While there was a lot to celebrate around the unprecedented effort, one area for improvement was our communication to frontline staff and doctors. Northern Health’s leadership sent many updates by email during the wildfire situation, but staff and doctors may rarely check emails because of their other duties.

To help solve this problem, Northern Health has started using innovative third-party technology to keep patients, staff, and doctors safe in emergencies. The technology, called SnapComms, is used by more than 150 health care organizations worldwide, and can send alerts that make emergency messages almost unmissable.

An article on Northern Health’s use of SnapComms was recently featured in Canadian Healthcare Technology, a magazine with over 12,000 readers across the country. We even made the front cover! Check it out to learn more about how SnapComms will help Northern Health staff during an emergency.