Emory and Ebola: Handling the global spotlight in a crisis

In handling the nation’s first Ebola case, Emory University Hospital isn’t just making news—it’s dominating news. Here’s how Emory communicators are proceeding.

Admit it. You’re keeping tabs on Emory University Hospital’s every tweet, Web post, and media interview.

So is every other health care communicator; we’re watching a case study unfold in real time.

As the medical teams work to treat their patients—the first ever in the U.S. to be treated for the Ebola virus—hospital communicators must be equal to their own challenges, including public fears and the accompanying misinformation that spreads quickly in today’s digital world.

When a crisis hits, it is crucial that your organization is prepared on all fronts. Take note of these ways that Emory has responded to being in the global spotlight:

Emory has been transparent and timely.

On July 31, Emory Healthcare issued a statement on its Website to announce the hospital would receive one Ebola patient. Emory was not aware of certain details, including when the patient would arrive—or that it would actually receive two patients—but the organization shared what was known at the time. In a crisis situation, share what you know, and keep your promises to provide updates whenever possible. Transparency fosters trust—among journalists and the public.

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