Crisis Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) is a concerted effort by health care providers and other agencies to acquire, disseminate, and share information during a crisis. The aim is to enable the general public to make informed choices to ensure their well-being during a crisis. A significant feature of helpful information during a crisis is that it should be accurate and timely to avoid tragedy. One of the primary dilemmas of effective Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) is being speedy in responding while maintaining accuracy even when the situation is uncertain (Reynolds & Seeger, 2022). A quick response shows that the agency is efficient, thus, reassuring the public.
Delivering information to patients and the general public is significant because it determines how the intended audience will comprehend and perceive what they are told. While providing information, health care providers should be factual, repeat the facts often, use simple, nontechnical terms, avoid providing sketchy details in the early part of the response, and ensure that all credible sources share the same facts (Reynolds & Seeger, 2022). The agency should give information to the public to facilitate their decision-making rather than being paternalistic, which may leave the masses disoriented.
During times of crisis, several agencies are involved, making communication difficult. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations, faith-based organizations, the fire department, and other public services worked collaboratively, all of which may have varying communication procedures. Also, communication systems and procedures may limit the ability to reveal information. Therefore, health workers should be realistic and disclose all material facts. Also, in case of a lack of information, the health worker should explain why the information is unavailable at the time (Reynolds & Seeger, 2022). Again, the crisis may disrupt communication channels forcing agencies to devise other methods of delivering the message. Therefore, CERC involves a balancing act between completeness and speed of information delivery.
Reynolds, B., & Seeger, M. W. (2014). Crisis and emergency risk communication. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.