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Ready for a Crisis, and Ready to Flex

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, July 17, 2013

There's a crisis in your healthcare organization's future. It might be a natural disaster or a data breach, and it's closer than you think. Are you prepared to communicate effectively with the media, patients, and hospital staff?

Managing a crisis is something communication professionals dread, but they know it is something they are likely to face at some point in their careers.

But in healthcare, a looming crisis is not a likelihood. It is a certainty.

Just glancing at the news over the last few days, I've read about various hospitals across the U.S. that grabbed headlines for possibly exposing patients to hepatitis, seriously botching a blood transfusion, and treating a patient infected with a deadly superbug.

It's a stark departure from the numerous celebratory press releases flying into my inbox from hospitals about making U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals list for 2013. Good news is easier and more fun to spread, but crisis communications has become a near-daily reality for healthcare organizations because of the speed at which information is shared.

A single Facebook post about nursing care, or the cleanliness (or not) of your mom's hospital room post-surgery could end easily end up on a savvy reporter's radar.

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