The healthcare system in America has been cited as the best in the world. However, healthcare organizations are not immune to crisis. A damaging crisis can strike any hospital at any time. Whatever the disaster may be, staff-related scandal, regulatory violation, public emergency, the hospital is suddenly in the spotlight. Healthcare involves people interacting with each other to preserve the health and personal integrity of patients.
The way a crisis is managed will determine the impact of the crisis on an organization. Crisis communication and response have a large significance in restoring the organization’s status. The word “crisis” has seen many definitions by a number of authors. The healthcare system is of particular concern when it comes to the concept of crisis communication because the lives of people are at stake. A patient might die from a medication error, or a physician may be dismissed due to malpractice or incompetence. Whatever the case, crisis in healthcare always means the physical, emotional or privacy aspects of an individual’s life have been affected. Predicting a crisis is nearly impossible and only the lucky few can span an entire career without ever experiencing one.
For organizations to be effective in achieving goals, employees need to have a shared vision of what they are striving to achieve, as well as clear objectives. There also needs to be ways to recognize and resolve conflicts before they escalate. Members of any organization need to have ways of keeping conflict to a minimum. Solving problems caused by conflict prevent major obstacles from impacting an organization.
Seeger, Sellnow, and Ulmer define an organizational crisis as: “A specific, unexpected and non-routine event or series of events that create high levels of uncertainty and threaten or are perceived to threaten an organization’s high-priority goals”. Millar and Heath state, “The organization dealing with a crisis requires skills in order to prevent the situation from taking an even worse direction.” (p. 2) Seeger and Sellnow asserts that “Increasingly, crises are common parts of the social, economic and organizational landscape of modern life” (p. 3).
A healthcare crisis is anything that suddenly or unexpectedly has adverse effect on a health