Certified Tumor Registrars (also known as CTRs or registrars) are moving to the remote work environment at a steady pace. Today, contract services being offered remotely via secure internet connections are commonplace, as are facility-based registrars working either part or full time from their home offices, releasing valuable “hospital real estate” for patient care services. Most recently, a shortage of CTRs has caused facilities that are unable to find qualified local candidates to begin hiring registrars that work from their home offices, towns and states away from the facility. And of course, currently, everyone who can is being asked to work remotely to slow the spread of COVID-19.
With staff working from remote locations, there is little to no direct face-to-face interaction as seen when staff works on site. This complicates effective communication. Registrars and their facility counterparts must incorporate regular communications into their workday by utilizing available communication tools at their disposal.
One-on-one communication can take place using a multitude of tools. The good old telephone is still an effective means of communication, especially on complex issues that take an oral give and take to work through. Emails and text messages are also effective for a quick touch base, message, or simple question.
There are many apps that provide communication tools. These tools can include VoIP, which are “phone calls” through the computer rather than a traditional phone, individual and group text messaging, and videoconferencing, which allows individuals or a whole team to enhance interactions by “seeing” each other.
A web-based, collaborative platform, such as Microsoft SharePoint, allows for sharing electronic files. These platforms offer access to the range of files needed for daily operations and access can be granted to entire teams or to specific groups who need access to a more selective set of files.
When working remotely or during epidemiologic emergences like COVID-19 that may force you to work from home, it is important to keep up-to-date with your facility’s news and communications. Extraordinary times place emphasis on extraordinary practices to remain current. Using conference call and video-conferencing technology to “virtually” attend cancer conferences, cancer committee meetings and other departmental or facility meetings can meet these needs.
Last but not least, a word of caution: When working from a home office, you are probably wearing casual clothing and feeling more relaxed; however, it is imperative that all communications remain professional. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of being overly casual in communications when you are working remotely. Nothing can tank a career faster than inappropriate communications.
There are many benefits to working remotely, but it’s important to stay connected with your facility by:
- Building communications into everyday processes
- Using all available communications tools appropriately
- Maintaining a professional standard at all times
Go home and get to work!
Ciox has an experienced team of remote registrars who offer oncology data services and trauma registry support. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.