IMPROVING CRISIS COMMUNICATION SKILLS IN HEALTH EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
INOVAMAIS, S.A. (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:In an emergency situation, health care managers, population and media are all requested to respond rapidly and effectively to maintain or restore normal conditions, allowing access to health care for the affected population. This is possible only if extensive preparedness planning programmes are in place and if communication tools and guidelines are available in advance for the all actors. For this reason, training and capacity building efforts aimed to develop the professional skills in crisis communication and management within a community or an organization are becoming really important for the entire society.
Strengthening crisis communication and management capacities in health systems in the European Region has become a major concern for the European Union, especially taking into account the following recent global trends:
• An increasing number of health crises and disasters;
• Growing social & economic losses – long term consequences for vulnerable societies;
• During the past 20 years, disasters have killed at least three million people; adversely affecting 800 million more;
• Health is a major concern and a priority in the crisis management.
On the other side, as showed in recent emergency situation, establishing effective communication channels among all the actors involved in an emergency has been proved to be an important instrument to allow a quick and efficient response to the crisis situation. Guarantying a continued exchange of information among health authorities, population and media, using different communication channels (social networks, blogs, online magazines and other web portals) is essential to manage an emergency in the most effective way.
Based on these facts and emerging trends, there is a relevant need to design and develop adapted training material, from a functional point of view, focusing on different professionals’ competencies and including a special focus on how to use the new communication channels in an emergency situation.
There’s a real and urgent need to improve the crisis communication competences of the health sector staff. A consortium of partners from 6 different countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Denmark) is developing an innovative training approach, to support health authorities to improve the cooperation with the others actors involved in Health emergency/crisis situations (normally the population and the media). The work being developed aims at setting up a common pattern of content in communication of crisis situation with the final scope of developing a training course and a set of communication tools that will focus on how health authorities can improve the cooperation with the others actors involved in the emergency (normally the population and the media) in order to deal with the Health emergencies/crisis in the best and quickest way. The contents of the training course and the communication tools are being built on the results provided by a series of focus groups and surveys implemented at European level. Besides, it also intents to encourage the use by health authorities of different communication tools and channels (social networks, blogs, online magazines and other web portals) that are commonly used by the other actors involved in the emergency: population and media.
Keywords: Communication Skills, Health Crisis Management, Training.