The Role of Communication in Healthcare Systems and Community Resilience

Published in: International Journal of Emergency Management, Volume 13, Issue 4 (2017), pages 305-327. doi: 10.1504/IJEM.2017.087218

Posted on RAND.org on July 03, 2019

by Brooke Fisher Liu, Brooke M. Fowler, Holly A. Roberts, Elizabeth L. Petrun Sayers, Michael J. Egnoto

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Communication failures often contribute to emergency medicine breakdowns during crises like Ebola, Superstorm Sandy, and 9/11. For example, the misidentification of Ebola in Dallas in 2015 was blamed on ineffective communication between hospital departments and ineffective hospital communication systems. Yet, existing research rarely examines how communication breakdowns can contribute to such failures. This paper provides a systematic research review to introduce emergency medicine providers to research-based best practices in risk and crisis communication. This paper also extends these best practices based on the unique healthcare system context. Understanding these best practices can improve how emergency medicine providers prepare for and respond to crises. In addition, awareness of critical research gaps such as message crafting techniques, family communication, and empowering nurses can inform strategic priorities for mitigating common communication failure points.

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