Review: Public health communication with frontline clinicians during the first wave of the 2009 influenza pandemic

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Review: Public health communication with frontline clinicians during the first wave of the 2009 influenza pandemic

Review: Public health communication with frontline clinicians during the first wave of the 2009 influenza pandemic

This study of the communication processes between public health and frontline clinicians during the H1N1 pandemic provides useful information for enhancing communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public health authorities rely on clinicians to make appropriate decisions when caring for patients, and clinicians refer to public health for guidance on how to handle disease spread. Communication between the two is particularly critical during a rapidly spreading pandemic and is essential to any public health emergency response plan. Data from previous epidemics suggest that national and local sources of information are often redundant and overwhelming. For example, the volume of emails received was too great for most clinicians to process efficiently. The current communication process is multidirectional, redundant, relies on daily action, and requires effort to be expended by personnel at many organizations.

Action-oriented messages should contextualize information and use short, structured messages. Clinicians typically consult public health websites, but not frequently enough to keep up with frequent changes, and prefer that their institutional source provide guidance about testing and treatment. The most important suggestions for public health leaders are to communicate with frontline clinicians by:

  • Limiting email to a single credible source
  • Identifying new information so clinicians do not have to search for it
  • Noting when local recommendations differ from CDC recommendations and explaining why differences exist
|2020-04-23T10:36:22-04:00April 23rd, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Public health communication with frontline clinicians during the first wave of the 2009 influenza pandemic

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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