Every day in the health care field, professional have to choose the most effective communication method when communicating to other professionals, patients, patient families, and the general public. Different circumstances have very specific methods of communication that need to be utilized for communication to be effective. Furthermore, in the health care field the regulations of HIPAA have to be considered to ensure that certain information is being protected as well as identity of people pertaining to the health scenarios.
Further will be discussed the methods of communicating in the health care field, the advantages and disadvantages of using traditional, electronic, and social media for health care communicating, and the effects of HIPAA and other regulations on the use of media in the health care field of communicating. Communication coordinators of any health care field have to decide often which methods of communication he or she would have to utilize and the rules and regulations that govern those methods.
In one scenario, a communication coordinator that works for a national drug manufacturer has received report that there has been a report of significant negative side effects caused by one of the medications that is used by a large population of people and one including a well-known public figure. News reports having been reporting that of the possible individuals who have been taking this particular drug is effected by the side effects. The communication coordinator has to decide how to address the news reports and the general public about this situation.
There are many different ways to communicate with the general public regarding the scenario described. As mentioned before the communication coordinator has to reach out to the general public regarding a medication that was distributed by a national drug manufacturer company that lead to significant side effects. Some of the different methods of communication using media are campaigns, medical journals, news reports, blogs, and other social medias. For the specific scenarios described previously it would be best to use the ampaign method. A campaign would be used to increase awareness, create a better understanding, modify attitude, and modify behavior (Health Industry Communication, Ch. 5). This method may be used when reaching out to a significant sized population. “The communication program will target whom, to help them understand, believe, or do what, by informing them of messages, through messengers and channels, to result in objectives” (Cheesebro, T. , O’Connor, L. , & Rios, F. , 2010, Ch. 5).
The objective of utilizing the campaign method would reach out the larger population through possibly multiple different media methods, instead of just one or two. When considering using different types of media and which ones to include and exclude when communicating through media, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of traditional, electronic, and social media. Traditional communication methods are the most common methods of communicating. This includes newspaper, journals, magazines, television, radio, and etc.
While this might be considered one of the most effective methods compared to electronic and social media, there are disadvantages as well as advantages of traditional communication. One advantages of using traditional communication methods is this can reach a larger population which would then decrease the time it takes to reach the population by some other methods of communication. Another advantage of using traditional communication method is a larger part of the population uses this as resources to gain information for different point of interests.
One disadvantage of using traditional communication methods is that it can be costly compared to some other communication methods. “Traditional medias have a high effect in creating awareness and influencing the attitude of the audience” (Tiwari, Singh, & Tiwari, 2003, p. 2). Electronic communication method also can be an effective way to communicate to the general public. Electronic communication includes email, phone calls, text messaging, video calling, and etc.
Although not every method of electronic communication would be considered effective for scenario previously described, some such as email would assist with retrieving audience attention. Just like any other communication method, electronic communication method also has its advantages and disadvantages. An advantage of electronic communication method is it creates direct communication methods to the intended audiences which can begin to change audience attitude towards a circumstance before any other communication tactic takes into effect.
One disadvantage of using electronic communication is there is a large section of the population that does not have access to electronics such as computers and internet. This population does not also have access to email and may not have easy access to a phone. Those people would then be more difficult to reach out to (Tiwari, Singh, & Tiwari, 2003). Another disadvantage may be the low literacy and language barrier of the population. Social media communication method is another way to communicate to the general public under different circumstances.
Social media communication includes social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, online video sharing, podcasts, blogs, and etc. Although this may be an effective way to communicate to the public, there are advantages and disadvantages that come with social media communication. According to CDC (2011), ” In the last several years, the use of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media tools to disseminate health messages has grown significantly, and continues to trend upward.
Using social media tools has become an effective way to expand reach, foster engagement and increase access to credible, science-based health messages” (4). This also has an advantage because it reaches a larger population at a faster rate and costs less than some other methods of media communication. A disadvantage of using social media method in communication is the credibility of the resources may be still questioned by a large portion of the population.
Another disadvantage of using social media communication is it may not reach all of the population to whom the topic is regarding. HIPAA plays a significant role in media communications. The essential functions of HIPAA regulations protect the privacy rights of patients and its users. When communicating health information, all health providers and any participants of health communication must ensure that the facts they wish to release are authorized and as accurate as possible (Nhanet, 2012).
Any information released about any patients must be authorized by patients through written authorization and must follow federal and state guidelines. HIPAA prohibits any person communicating about health to public to disclose any information about patients even if it is general speaking of the patient. According to Hader and Brown (2010) “Healthcare providers using social media must remain mindful of professional boundaries and their patients’ privacy rights” (p. 1).
In conclusion, communicating through different media methods can be a useful source to communicate effectively to the public. Some methods are better than other, however all methods have different advantages when communicating to the public. There are also many disadvantages that are to be considered when implementing each method. There are also HIPAA regulations that have to be followed when communicating about patients or to patients regarding any facts and issues. The media is a way to communicate to a significant sized population when HIPAA laws are followed.