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What boards should know about communications

Steve Bell, managing partner of Steve Bell Communications, presents 'Out of the Chaos: The Board's Role in Crisis and Reputation Management.' Steve Bell, managing partner of Steve Bell Communications, presents 'Out of the Chaos: The Board's Role in Crisis and Reputation Management.'

In his breakout session, Michael J. Schoppmann, Esq., president of MLMIC Insurance Company, discussed the unique benefits and the appropriate use and liability issues associated with social media in healthcare. According to a recent survey, 40% of consumers report that information they see on social media affects their healthcare, including when choosing practitioners and making healthcare decisions. When monitoring your organization’s standing on rating and ranking websites, he recommended that hospitals never respond or dispute a review, as it may result in a privacy breach or HIPAA violation. Further, marketing should be vetted by the legal department. Mr. Schoppmann covered what a social media plan and policy should address and recommended guidelines for use of social media in healthcare. Attendees walked away with a list of 10 questions every trustee should ask their management team about social media.

Later that day, Steve Bell, managing partner of Steve Bell Communications, explored what trustees need to know about communications during a crisis. His key message was that what triggers a crisis is not as important as the response. The objective is to end the crisis as quickly as possible and return to business-as-usual – with credibility and reputation intact. How you handle yourself in the first few hours of a crisis determines how you will ultimately be viewed. Mr. Bell discussed the five key rules for effective crisis response. When responding, transparency and preparation are key, and emphasizing the facts is crucial, he said. Further, sometimes “I don’t know” can be the best answer.

Published September 23, 2019