Media outlets often rely on reporters’ ability to sensationalize a story. By sensationalizing a situation, news sources can grab readers’ or viewers’ attention. Media companies often go to great lengths to get their information. This can include contacting patients’ families, current and former employees, or eyewitnesses to help them “flesh out” their story. So, what can you do when a negative situation at your facility steps into the limelight?
Outbreaks, medical errors, employee misconduct allegations, misappropriation of funds, accidents, or acts of nature are just a few of the reasons your organization could be negatively portrayed in the media. While the most important step to avoiding poor publicity is to prevent it, a time may come when a negative event occurs out of your control. Every organization should be prepared for such an occasion.
How to Prepare Before a Crisis Happens
In order to effectively manage crisis communications, it’s necessary to designate a spokesperson, establish the facts, draft and rehearse a prepared general statement, all while guarding the privacy of patients and/or the facility. This should all be done prior to any incident for maximum effectiveness. Having a plan of action and people who are accountable for certain pieces of the plan is crucial to a timely and professional response.
Addressing the Story
According to Statistica, approximately 10% of Americans have knowingly shared misinformation and that number increases to 31% when involving children and teenagers. Over half of Americans also question the news. Despite the general public’s acknowledgement of sensationalized news, organizations need a media plan. Successful crisis management of the media not only involves proactively addressing potential risks but also controlling the information provided, especially a false report.
To actively address false reports, your crisis management team must be in place and already have assigned parts to play. From there, your organization can acknowledge any misinformation swiftly with a premeditated, approved response that presents professionalism and care.
Handling the Crisis
You must demonstrate that your organization is managing the crisis to maintain the confidence and trust of the public. Preparing statements is good, however, statements given should not disclose too much information while you are still conducting a full investigation. Speaking out of line and then having to issue an apology or correction makes your organization look unprofessional.
How to Prepare Today
Having an experienced, objective partner is a huge advantage for a specialist in healthcare or social services in the midst of a crisis. Now is the time to enlist a specialist who can help you assess, plan for, or even control a crisis when the moment comes. OmniSure provides supportive specialists in a variety of fields who can not only help you avoid a negative event, but provide advice-on-demand and support in case of a media emergency.