Effective communications with different stakeholders was critical for health systems everywhere during the worldwide SARS outbreak earlier this year. For Capital Health in Edmonton, Alberta, the health system was able to build on its past experiences in dealing with meningococcal outbreaks and its planning for a pandemic flu.
While past work on the meningococcal immunization campaign and pandemic flu planning provided concrete experience with major public health issues, learnings gained from the SARS situation added to our understanding of the importance of a well-developed communication plan in a complex regional health system. Overall, the experience allowed Capital Health to reach a new level of collaboration in working with multiple partners, and facilitated building trust and allaying anxiety both internally and externally.
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