About public health crisis

Crisis management is an area of intervention in Public Health of great importance, because a crisis situation could have a strong impact on the lives of people as well as the social environment of the territory.

The consequences of a widespread crisis situation not only affects the general population but its destruction at a social and economic level is also felt by the organizations (above all by those dealing with healthcare), upsetting general activity and putting at risk the wellbeing and health of the citizens.

Numerous risks can affect a health authority, at various levels and a consequent complexity larger than that of a productive public utility and or other services.

It is therefore necessary for these institutions to be able to guarantee an effective capacity of a rapid and appropriate reaction, also in the case of unexpected events, to meet the needs of the population involved and to activate well structured operations which the health operators involved are well aware of, ensuring the carrying out of the services without any delays.

An important characteristic of crisis situations which affect the health of the population is also the strong communicative impact connotation.

The communication of risks therefore requires the application of specific strategies to manage the “uncontrollable” and strongly emotive characteristic of the diffusion of news in the health field. The process of the exchange of information between the institutions and the citizens is particularly complex and there are numerous risks when the knowledge of the “technicians” is translated by the mass media and then perceived by the public. Furthermore, each crisis situation potentially generates an information gap, which needs to be filled by the local, regional, national or international institution, which has to inform the citizens in a rapid and clear way.

Hence crisis management is a complex process which requires preparation with “ordinary timing”, defining the organizational layout of the departments involved, the procedures to realize, and the interventions put into practice to react rapidly and competently.

It is therefore evident how a culture which deals with risk situations must be considered and investment and the acquisition of a socially responsible praxis, which goes beyond the legal obligations, facing every unexpected event and obtaining the best results with major competitiveness, must be appreciated as a further value to every public utility.