During the daily barrage of natural disasters, radical changes in health care, and other issues, deciding how to personally respond is challenging for anyone. For hospital and health system leaders, raising their voices as part of the public discourse carries risks and rewards.
Until recently, many CEOs and other leaders refrained from taking an aggressive public stand on controversial issues. However, putting a stake in the ground on social and political issues is something that Rod Hochman, M.D., chief executive officer of Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH)
, felt passionately about, which led him to engage the organization’s communications team to develop a strategy. The jumping-off point was a blog called “My Views.” Although creating a blog wasn’t revolutionary, using it to publicly share personal opinions on controversial issues was bold.
“For us, speaking out is a matter of social justice, which is part of our heritage and who we are as an organization,” Dr. Hochman said. “We have a responsibility to be a voice for the voiceless—particularly as it relates to health care, which we fundamentally believe is a right, not a privilege.”Alignment Check
To help weigh the pros and cons of speaking out in social media, the communications team at PSJH recommends asking the following questions. If you answer “no” to any of these, think twice before proceeding.
Are You Social Media Savvy?
- Would our response be aligned with our mission and values?
- Is this topic something that would be natural for us to talk about, or would it confuse our audiences?
- Would adding our voice to the conversation cause people to think differently about the topic?
- Would mobilizing our employees/volunteers/community be helpful? If so, is there a specific call to action?
In the March/April 2018 issue of SHSMD's Spectrum
, you’ll find additional tips for using social media to advance the communications goals of your organization. SHSMD members, read the full article: Health Care Leaders Are Speaking Out in Social Media.Nonmembers, for this article and more content like it, Join SHSMD.