Chubb Healthcare

Navigating COVID-19: Media & Crisis Communications

By Diane Doherty, MS, CPHRM
Senior Vice President, Healthcare Risk Management

During HRM Week 2020, we salute the trailblazing work of healthcare risk managers tackling the new challenges of COVID-19, which has necessitated new thinking across all areas of healthcare organizations – and underscored the importance of effective communication with all constituents.

Preparing to Handle Media Inquiries

Thorough preparation is pivotal to effectively handle media inquiries in any crisis situation and has been critical during this pandemic. Risk professionals are playing an integral role in crafting templates for media messaging to ensure verbal and written responses reflect an organization’s crisis action plan and strategies and convey that the organization’s leaders remain in control. Risk managers must work closely with executive leaders to select, train and authorize a capable media spokesperson. In some cases, the risk professional may serve in this role, communicating public health mandates, reporting case totals and providing status updates in a calm, measured manner.

Managing Crisis Communications 

This pandemic has required a new level of agility in communications, requiring that rapidly evolving federal, state and local policies and emergency management measures be relayed clearly, accurately and in a timely manner to staff, patients and families. As a core member of an institution’s crisis management task force, risk managers develop communications strategies well in advance of disease outbreak in order to ensure their organization is prepared to address hazards, calm fears, minimize losses and expedite recovery from a crisis.

Utilizing all available methods of communication, including the organizational website, patient portals, social media, and emergency email and text messaging, risk managers have ensured that COVID-related requirements are effectively conveyed to the respective audiences and that key public health preparedness points are identified and swiftly acted upon by their organization and staff.

On behalf of all of us at Chubb Healthcare, I express our gratitude to healthcare risk managers nationwide. Thank you for all you do.

Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at www.chubb.com. Insurance provided by ACE American Insurance Company and its U.S. based Chubb underwriting company affiliates.  This document is advisory in nature and is offered as a resource to be used together with your professional insurance advisors in maintaining a loss prevention program. No liabilities or warranties are assumed or provided by the information contained in this document.