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After Infections, Hope for Exeter Hospital

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, August 8, 2012

Keep talking about it

So far, Exeter has done a decent job of managing public perception of the organization, considering the breadth of the outbreak. But it's what the hospital does in coming weeks, months, and years that will determine if it will be able to get its image back on track.

At Forbes, hospital leaders found the solution was to keep talking about the situation. Though tests discovered that not a single patient was infected, and the public admission resulted in the parent health system being tied up in litigation over the situation for several years, Farah and Rubino believe continuing to inform the public was the right thing to do.

"Keeping quiet might have enabled us to avoid a prolonged court case and negative publicity, but it was never a consideration," they wrote. "We believed then, as we believe now, that our patients have a right to all information related to their health care. We value both patient safety and transparency."

Transparency is something Exeter must focus on as it continues to face inspections and other probes. Even if under normal circumstances it would not release certain results, it must do so in the next few years.

Anything less than absolute transparency while the organization is under the shadow of this outbreak will look suspicious, if not sinister.

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