Thursday, March 5, 2009

Crisis in healthcare industry








As this sector deals with life - every life saved translates into big publicity and every life lost translates into lot of negative publicity very difficult to erase.
Crisis in this sector is usually classified into the following:
  1. Death of patient
  2. Sexual harassment charges
  3. Medicine overdose
  4. Duplicate drug
There are many situations where crisis can take place, but above mentioned are few of the important ones. Incase of any crisis the thumb rule is:
  1. It is very important to understand the crisis, talk to all the parties involved.
  2. Inform the spokesperson and people affected to maintain a common statement for media. In the meant time setup an enquiry committee.
  3. Keep media informed about the latest reports only after approval.
  4. Get assistance of legal department/consultants.
  5. Understand what media wants and diplomatically solve all the queries.
  6. There are many aspects to deal with crisis so it is necessary to hire a communications agency.
Here I will quote a case study to better understand crisis Molestation charges against male doctor by female patient during checking and no female attendant is nearby. And the doctor is not guilty, but how to prove it? What, I have highlighted is an extreme crisis situation which can tarnish the image of the doctor as well as of the hospital. Here, it is important to understand the doctors’ side and the patients’ side of the story. Can schedule meeting with a psychiatrist of both the parties, whose reports can help to understand the reasons behind such incidence. The legal dept and the hospitals spokesperson should keep all channels open and interact with the media (the information shared with the media should be approved by the mgt). As far as possible the culprit should not speak to media and have faith in the hospitals management. If the patient is wrong their will be loopholes in her story which can surface during interrogation. It might happen that the patient was sexually starved and was trying to advance towards the doctor and he might have objected resulting in this claim. The other possibility can be that doctor was checking her heart beats and by mistake touched her breast. Only after discussions this type of case can be solved. Once the case is solved both the parties (doctor & patient) should speak to media and convey the right message. Keeping media informed helps to gain positive respect from media which helps in the long run.

This can happen in any hospital like Hinduja Hospital, KEM Hospital, JJ Hospital, Tata Hospital, etc. So be aware and set your protocols to fight such crisis...

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