How Hospitals Should Respond to Ebola on Social Media

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.

About Joshua Platt

Joshua Platt is a senior account manager in Fathom’s Columbus, Ohio office. He has nearly 20 years of professional experience in journalism, marketing, public relations, and account management and business development.Josh worked as a reporter and producer for several local and national newspapers and magazines, TV and radio stations, and two television network web start-ups -- and NBC Interactive -- before moving to Ohio in 2001.Prior to joining Fathom in April 2011, Josh served as the director of marketing and public relations for one of Central Ohio's largest non-profit organizations, and worked in corporate marketing, sales promotions and account management/new business development for two of Central Ohio's largest multimedia production firms. Josh has worked with clients’ online marketing initiatives, media relations efforts, corporate video and broadcast television productions, staging of corporate meetings and special events, and web and interactive media productions. His clients have included organizations in the health care, construction, government, legal and financial services, advertising, education, and nonprofit sectors. Josh earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Political Science and English from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.A member of the board of trustees for the Westerville Public Library, Josh is a passionate baseball fan and amateur historian. He combines these loves as a freelance writer and blogger.

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