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Healthcare crisis communication: Keep it simple to get your message across


During an emergency event, hospitals are generally one of the most hectic workplaces that you will find. This can create a multitude of issues for the essential personnel required to be on-call. If the necessary doctors and nurses aren’t being contacted to come into work, this hinders a hospital’s ability to deliver essential lifesaving services during an emergency.

Crisis communication preparedness is essential for hospitals. Typically, during an emergency, these facilities need to be able to get in contact with personnel even if traditional means of communication have been disrupted. During an emergency, there is no telling what kinds of communication challenges will present themselves. This is exactly why it is critical that healthcare organizations implement disaster crisis communication processes that blend intuitive, team-based systems with effective leadership to ensure they are ready to adapt to any challenge that may arise.

When sending messages to hospital personnel, it is important to keep it as simple as possible. Keep in mind that during a crisis, a recipient’s level of stress will, at least temporarily, impact their reaction time, ability to focus, and command vocabulary. One of our most pertinent recommendations is to follow these simple principles when crafting messages:

  • 3-3-30 Principle – An emergency notification message should contain no more than three points and be written in no more than three sentences and 30 words.
  • 6 & 60 Principle – An emergency notification message should be written at no higher than a sixth-grade reading level. Again, this factors in stress levels and command of vocabulary during a crisis!
  • If you follow these principles, they will help guide your critical communications strategy. Remember, keep the message simple. This will make a significant difference and ensure recipients fully understand what information you are trying to get across, what needs to be done and how they should respond.

    To learn more about how your hospital should handle communication during a crisis, please read the whitepaper Disaster Crisis Communication Preparedness for Healthcare.

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