Short, Sweet, Consistent, and Credible: the Importance of Messaging During a Disaster

October 10, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


At the 2018 annual conference of the American Society for Health Care Risk Management (ASHRM) in Nashville on October 8, 2018, Susan C. Boisvert, BSN, MHSA, CPHRM, FASHRM, and Jade Thompson, RN, MSN, CPHRM, presented the four stages of disaster—preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery—and how social media can support communication surrounding a disaster. Messages during a disaster need to be short, timely, accurate, consistent, and repeated, said Boisvert. She demonstrated the efficacy of using a social media platform to share information with patient population—messages about access to care, facility safety, and responses to requests for information (in many cases, with a restatement of the original disaster response message). Attendees shared that they use several platforms, but primarily Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Boisvert emphasized the importance of consistent messaging, such as sharing information from local authorities and first responders. "Short, sweet, clear, and credible—that's great risk communication," noted Boisvert. During recovery, management of the message and public health can be supported by the use of social media.

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