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Communication Coordinators manage their company’s communication strategies. This includes internal (coworkers) and external (public) communication methods. They are in charge of releasing information and responding to any inquiries regarding the information. Communication Coordinators also manage event planning, communication budgets, and social media outlets. For this paper, I will assume the role of Communications Coordinator for a national drug manufacturer named “Pharmaco”. One of our medications at Pharmaco has recently been reported to cause significant negative effects among those prescribed. The medicine known as “Olaz” is prescribed to a large number of people. To make matters worse, there have been reports that a well-known public figure is counted amongst the effected. Negative feedback from this figure could lower the public opinion of Pharmaco and damage the company’s credibility. As Communications Coordinator, I am tasked with the responsibility of addressing news reports and the general public regarding the situation.
Communication comes in a variety of forms including traditional, electronic, and social media. These forms all have their advantages and disadvantages. Each form must also adhere to rules and regulations such as the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Traditional media encompasses a wide range of communication mediums. This includes newspapers, magazines, outdoor billboards, direct mail, radio, and television. Most of the population will at least encounter one of these mediums during their day. Traditional media is advantageous because all of the mediums are one way forms of communication. This would give Pharmaco the ability to send a message to the public, without having to answer any questions immediately. While public interaction is inevitable, traditional media would allow time in-between delivery and feedback. This would give Pharmaco time to collect and prepare for public interaction. With traditional media it would also be fairly easy to adhere to HIPAA regulations because all the information delivered is scripted.
Pharmaco would have plenty of time to review the information and check for errors. This reduces the possibility of giving private information to the public. The disadvantage of traditional media is closely related to its advantages. Time in-between delivery and feedback can be costly. During this time the public could use other forms of media to discuss Pharmaco. Without the ability to defend itself, negative public opinion could increase. This in turn brings us to our next media type. Electronic media is a more advanced form of communication compared to traditional. It is also more interactive than traditional media. The most common form of electronic or “digital” media, is the internet. The internet is often utilized similarly to traditional media. Electronic media is advantageous because of the ever growing popularity and usage of the internet. People are now accessing the internet in the home through a fast-growing range of games consoles and Wi-Fi enabled tablets, smartphones and laptops, giving rise to a trend of “multi-screening” (Internet Usage on Rise, 2014).
Broadcasting information with electronic media would extend Pharmaco’s audience. More people could be reached. Plus, it would be easy to keep information updated. Of course, it should be remembered that this type of media allows the public to be more interactive. Pharmaco must be aware of those who use computers to collect private material; hackers. We can create our own website that will allow us to interact with the public, however there is a potential for hackers who would aim at stealing our private information. They could even manipulate our site into giving out incorrect information. Furthermore, providers are subject to far more rigorous guidelines when patient history information is in electronic form (HIPAA Compliance, 2003). If we choose to use electronic media, it will be imperative to protect private information. This way we can abide by HIPAA regulations. If Pharmaco’s website is compromised, then there is the possibility that patient information could be as well. Pharmaco should also consider social media. Social media is interaction between the public that takes place in virtual communities or networks.
Two of the largest used social media websites on the internet are Facebook and Twitter. Both of the mediums allow users to stay in constant connection with one another. With social media Pharmaco would not have to worry about digital storage of its information. Everything we would want to express would be stored on someone else’s network. Social media would also allow us to stay in constant contact with those that “follow” or “subscribe” to us. This is advantageous because it would give us the ability to instantly address public concerns. Coincidentally, the disadvantage of social media is the need for constant reviewing and updating. Furthermore, as with all forms of media, HIPAA regulations must be kept in mind. If we choose to use social media, HIPAA compliance must be addressed so that our company does not commit a violation. Patients should understand that personal health information should never be posted. Considering all the information that has been reviewed, I suggest that Pharmaco utilize traditional and social media. First and foremost, the public needs to be addressed.
A statement should be given to the press. The statement should let the public know that we are aware of the reports. It should also contain a sincere apology to all those who affected by our medication. The message should also inform the public that we are doing all we can to correct the situation. We should also have a forum where the public can go to ask questions. This is where I suggest social media. I believe Twitter would be the best way to go about this. Twitter would allow us to be brief and stay in constant connection with the public. It’s important for the public to feel as if we are always available. I also think it is best not to have a means of personal electronic media (website). All the information that could be related on our website can be just as easily relayed on social media. Furthermore, I find it beneficial to not broadcast a public address (I.P. address).
This would only act as a gateway for a system that would ultimately be connected to our patient health records. With social media key staff should be selected to serve as the program’s page administrators; these people will be the gatekeepers for access to the program’s page (Walters-Salas, E., 2012). I also suggest that updates only be done twice or three times a day. This will allow us to control the conversation, rather than being continuously dominated by the public. Plus, it will allow page administrators the time to perform their normal tasks. In regards to the well-known public figure, we should not mention them in any of our communications. Patient information is private for everyone. We also don’t want to appear bias or more concerned with a single person’s condition. Our messages should constantly address those affected as a collective whole.
I believe that this strategy is the best way to address this issue. I have identified the advantages and disadvantages of traditional, electronic, and social media. Private information and HIPAA regulations have also been addressed. My reasons for selecting my strategy has also been stated. This is a delicate scenario and it’s important that Pharmaco address it appropriately.
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