Friday, August 29, 2014

The Weekly Read

Emory's Excellent Crisis Communications on Facebook
Agnes + Day
August 25, 2014

A deadly, highly contagious disease spreading across western Africa. Medical aid workers from the United States contract that illness. A decision to bring them back to the United States for medical treatment.

It almost sounds like a great start to a thrilling book, but it was the reality faced by the Centers for Disease Control, Samaritan's Purse and Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

An ambulance carrying one of the Ebola infected workers arrives at Emory Hospital
While the hospital is well equipped to handle patients infected with diseases such as Ebola, their system to handle public information through their social media outlets - especially Facebook - was untested. How would the public react to the decision to treat these two patients at a hospital in one of the country's largest cities? Would rumor and fear win the day?

This article, written by Melissa Agnes, analyzes how the hospital's brave decision to maintain its social media engagement helped to prevent rumor from taking control, kept the community connected to what was happening and - ultimately - won the respect and approval of the public.

Tom Iovino, Public Information Specialist
Pinellas County, Florida

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