Hospital's image with public will suffer
Hospital's image with public will suffer Insurance available for HIPAA breaches
The reputation of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in Philadelphia will take a big hit from the recent $78.5 million malpractice verdict against it, says Scott Sobel, president of Media & Communications Strategies in Washington, DC.
No matter how complicated the clinical issues in a malpractice case, and they were not that complicated in this one, the public always distills the story down to its essence, Sobel says. In this case, he says, the story will be that Pottstown provided inadequate equipment to the physician.
"There can be an education strategy with the general media and also with social media," Sobel says. "We have done empirical research indicating that a certain percentage of judges admit anonymously that they are affected by media reports, so the effect goes beyond just the reputation among the general public."
The hospital and other local hospitals are at risk because of the public's heightened awareness of the verdict and the issue, Sobel says.
"There is a likelihood of copy-cat allegations, and certainly other plaintiffs' attorneys will see blood in the water," Sobel says. "The hospital in this case, and others, should be doing both internal and external communications to mitigate these risks."
Examples of internal communications are distribution of news articles with the hospital point of view attached; employee town hall meetings; official statements on the hospital web site; and letters and emails to other internal hospital stake holders such as board members, employees, patients, donors, regulators, unions, and professional groups. External communications include news conferences and distribution of information through social media such as Facebook and blogs.
"External communications should include monitoring of all social media and news that might mention the hospital, along with creation of an over-arching crisis and a media plan that addresses short term, mid-term and long-term actions and goals, especially reputation and business goals," Sobel says. "The goal is a constant drum-beat of good news stories sent to all stake holders and media."
Scott Sobel, President, Media & Communications Strategies, Washington, DC. Telephone: (202) 449-9801. Email: [email protected].The reputation of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in Philadelphia will take a big hit from the recent $78.5 million malpractice verdict against it, says Scott Sobel, president of Media & Communications Strategies in Washington, DC.
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