Niagara Health System: An Innovative Communications Strategy (A)
(7 pages of text)
This case chronicles three major challenges faced by the Niagara Health System, a seven-hospital network in the Niagara region in the province of Ontario, Canada. An interim chief communications officer has joined the Niagara Health System team on secondment to help with communications issues during a C. difficile outbreak. He soon realizes that the public communication issues were not isolated to this outbreak, but rather continued a trend of poor relationships with local media and the public. The case examines the field of hospital communications in Ontario, including trends and best practices, a history of communications struggles at the Niagara Health System, strategy options and considerations to manage the C. difficile outbreak and strategies to improve trust and reputation. See supplement 9B15M023
This case can be used in graduate- and undergraduate-level courses covering health sector leadership, health care management, communications, crisis management, stakeholder management and strategy. The following teaching objectives form the basis for this case:
- To develop an understanding of the various stakeholders in hospital communications and their competing values, powers and priorities.
- To examine the issues of transparent vs. guarded communication strategies and when each should be used.
- To experience the challenges of managing an immediate communications crisis while managing for a greater long-term strategy.
- To identify the barriers and facilitators of a successful hospital-community partnership and relationship.
Health Care Services
Canada, Large, 2011
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