Raising Awareness of the Veterans Health Administration’s National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships
Creating and implementing a strategic communications plan
The Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) National Center for Healthcare Advancement & Partnerships (HAP) builds and coordinates effective national, state and community level partnerships that advance the health and well-being of Veterans, their families and their caregivers. These partnerships:
- Explore innovative, safe and ethical emerging therapies
- Enhance services available through VA or provide supplemental services
HAP’s strategic communications help raise awareness about HAP’s partnership efforts across VA and within Veteran health care systems and communities.
Improving communications to reach more stakeholders
HAP needs to increase awareness among internal and external stakeholders about its partnership roster and share information about programs and services that benefit Veteran communities. In addition, HAP wants to build brand equity as a trusted VA resource for nonmonetary partnerships and health care advancement initiatives that enhance care for Veterans.
HAP needs outside strategic communication services that leverage existing VA traditional and nontraditional communications channels, including VA social media platforms, print and other media and external partner sources to share information that resonates with its audiences.
Developing and delivering on an effective communications strategy
HAP partnered with our team to create and execute a strategy to produce relevant, timely content for internal and external stakeholders.
Implementing a communications project management plan
Our team developed a communications project management plan (CPMP) to track, manage and evaluate the components of the strategic communications strategy. The CPMP describes the high-level approaches our team uses to manage support of contract deliverables; implement processes and mechanisms to effectively manage the work; and employ innovative tools, techniques and methods to support outreach activities. The CPMP also includes schedules and calendars, key initiatives, milestones, metrics, risk reduction steps and resource support.
Creating salient messaging and communications products
Our team develops all HAP public-facing materials, including newsletters, articles, technical artifacts, videos, fact sheets, brochures, flyers, press releases, toolkits and an annual report. We work with:
- HAP coordinators to create and share integrated messaging and compelling narratives in accurately branded creative materials
- Partner coordinators to ensure message integrity, include real-time quotes and add the Veterans’ voices to the medium to increase resonance with various Veteran community audiences
Our team works to develop a visual component to the content that cohesively reflects VA’s message and meets branding guidelines before disseminating materials across available VA and partner resources.
Improving the HAP website to enhance the user experience
Our team was charged with proposing improvements to the HAP website to enhance the user experience. Across the HAP website, information was inconsistently coded to display in sometimes unpredictable ways. For example, users did not experience a seamless or optimized website on which items displayed in a consistent manner, which ultimately diminished the brand’s professional appearance. Additionally, the website housed materials that were obsolete or no longer relevant to audiences. The team developed and implemented a plan that modernized the website and synchronized content while adhering to VA’s strict branding and digital requirements — and began archiving outdated content.
Applying rigorous project management techniques
Rigorous project management methods must be in place to effectively track and manage the vast number of communications products HAP creates and disseminates. We create and distribute several reports each month to monitor pitched topics and content that is in progress, completed (unbilled and billed), and published. We apply best practices from the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge to successfully execute HAP’s goals and objectives. The team uses the CPMP in addition to internal controls and project management reviews to deliver high-quality products on schedule and within budget. To mitigate risk, our team maintains a program risk register that includes a description of the risk/issue, an assessment of probability and impact and the planned risk mitigation strategy. This risk management approach allows for early identification and mitigation of risk and makes all team members responsible for identifying potential risks and issues and reporting them to the program manager. We also developed strategic communication metrics in the communications plan. The metrics for assessing the communication strategy center on message effectiveness, evaluation of vehicles and platforms used and available analytics on various platforms.
Our team translated the client’s priorities to develop and implement a CPMP and publication tracker for the development, coordination and publication of content. We ensure all deadlines for deliverables are being met, which has been a major client concern. Rigorous project management techniques have kept communications products on track and error free.
Results at a Glance
- Communications products completed and disseminated in keeping with deadlines
- Creation and implementation of CPMP
- Streamlined project management approach
- Updated website that improved user experience
- New knowledge management system with content migrated to new system within two weeks of our team gaining access to HAP network
- Double the total number of Community Partnership Challenge applications (to recognize outstanding partnerships) from what is normally received each year
- New, mobile-friendly template for HAP newsletters
- Strategic communications
- Content development and production schedule coordination
- Website improvements to enhance user experience
Our Team’s Advantage
- Extensive project management experience
- Expert plain language content development and strategic planning for large government agencies
- Ability to produce timely, consistent and accurately branded materials