September is Disaster Preparedness Month so I'm especially happy to share the new Congressional Research Service report titled Social Media and Disasters: Current Uses, Future Options, and Policy Considerations. It isn't limited to healthcare, but the information is still relevant.
They see social media it being used in disasters in two broad categories - passively to disseminate info and receive feedback and systematically as an emergency management tool. The latter goes further than the former by:
- using the medium to conduct emergency communications and issue warnings
- using social media to receive victim requests for assistance
- monitoring user activities and postings to establish situational awareness
- using uploaded images to create damage estimates, etc.
As with everything, there are risks. My recommendation is to trust who you follow, confirm information whenever possible and pay close attention to details of the tweet, such as, the time sent, if it is a re-tweet and the original sender.
A new Modern Healthcare article on Staying Connected may also be helpful.
I encourage all of my readers to make a plan and be prepared at home and work. Visit the Ready.Gov site for helpful information and resources!