If you’re working in marketing, communications or public relations for a healthcare organization, it’s a fair bet that you’ve been talking about H1N1. You’ve probably covered the basics of what H1N1 is, why it’s dangerous, vaccine shortages, and updates on the number of cases being reported in your area. What does an emergency declaration bring to the table that’s both new and newsworthy?
I must admit that I thought President Obama’s address to the nation on hand washing back in April seemed a bit trivial. However, this recent declaration has some substance and it provides an opportunity to initiate some worthwhile discussions. Here are some pointers:
- Use this declaration to show you’re in charge and things are under control – This emergency declaration is a proactive step that gives healthcare providers greater flexibility to deal with H1N1 as it progresses. Demonstrate confidence in your organization’s ability to support the community through this, using information from your current plans to show you are prepared for whatever this flu season brings.
- Reinforce prevention messaging – For the average person, all they can do is try to avoid getting sick and, if sick, avoid spreading it to others. Promoting good hand washing, coughing techniques, and mask usage for sick individuals, as well as tips for businesses are all good topics.
- Reinforce messages on what to do if you think that you have H1N1 – Keep consumers informed about how and when to see their healthcare providers if they think they’re sick along with the prevention methods listed above.
- Provide resources for the future – If health consumers come to you once for information, show them they can come to you in the future for access to what they’ll need in the future. Some of this information may be original content you create on your Web site, but most will be information from other entities such as the Centers for Disease Control.
In other words, this declaration is a great opportunity to promote your organization’s leading role in supporting your community through this situation. What are you waiting for?