With the current news and hype over reported cases of ebola in the U.S., healthcare providers have a great opportunity to serve their communities. By dispelling myths and instilling confidence that they are taking the appropriate measures to ensure their community will be safe, health systems can help calm a panicked public. A good communication tool to use for this purpose is social media.
Don’t ignore the situation like an ostrich. Post a statement. Communicating with your community and patients is critical at a time when they are looking to their healthcare provider for information on a crisis (or perceived crisis) that is relevant to them.
Make your statement meaningful and informative, potentially with links to further resources for more details. Try to include facts about the situation (in this case, ebola), and what actions the health system is doing to ensure its staff are trained and ready to handle it.
Don’t neglect your community and patients when they are already posting questions or comments on your Facebook page or through other social media channels. People are looking to the health system(s) in their communities to provide authoritative information and be responsive. Serve your patient community well by serving this role.