¶ … Social Media Can Strengthen Emergency Communication
By Jeff Ferenc (2014)
Tertiary healthcare facilities and health care systems are increasing incorporating social media networks and backup emergency communications systems into their emergency response protocols. At present, 40% of American hospitals use social media in some fashion as part of their emergency response systems, an increase of 8% from 2012. Based on the effectiveness of using social media networks for these purposes to date, the author recommends that all hospitals incorporate this strategy into their emergency response systems. The effectiveness of social media networks for emergency response applications is due in large part to their ubiquity and the prevalence with which these networks are used by a majority of Americans today. Therefore, adding social media networks to an emergency response system allows hospitals to better respond to disaster situations.
The author cites some recent examples from the field in support of these assertions, including the Massachusetts General Hospital which used Twitter and Facebook for disaster management...
This hospital had already incorporated social media networks into its disaster response protocols, facilitating the emergency response. The value of this approach was proven when administrators at Massachusetts General Hospitals learned that there was a rumor being spread on Twitter that the hospital had been locked down because the bombing suspect was being transported there. Both rumors were quickly discounted using Twitter.
In addition, besides incorporating social media networks into their emergency response systems, increasing numbers of hospitals in the United States have also enhanced their IT-based communications technologies in recent years. For example, public relations representatives from Atlantic Health System in Morrison, New Jersey, report that they also use social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook because they are so effective, but they have also implemented a cloud-based email backup systems and mobile telecommuting devices for healthcare staff following the onset of Hurricane Sandy that disrupted communications in a widespread area in 2012. Although the social media network addition was regarded as an essential element in the organization's emergency response planning, other communications methods such as email were also critically important for communicating with staff members.
There are some other pragmatic reasons for hospitals using social media networks in their emergency response systems. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has recommended that all American healthcare providers that are Medicare and…
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