Mercy's hospital in Joplin received a direct hit from a tornado on May 22. This presentation, given to the PRSA in St. Louis recently, documents Mercy's collective response using traditional communications and social media.
St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin as it appeared before the May 22, 2011 tornado. The hospital had 367 beds and was ranked among the Top 100 in the country by Thomson Reuters.
After the storm, an aerial view taken May 23 captures the magnitude of the hospital campus damage.
Rescue workers in lime-green jackets Monday, May 23, 2011.
Monday, May 23, the full extent of the devastation became even more apparent as experts entered the damaged hospital to start a full assessment.
Inside the Main Lobby May 24, a Mercy photographer captured images the world waited to see: the first public look inside St. John’s Regional Medical Center.
Mercy released the first photos from inside St. John’s Regional Medical Center at a news conference May 25.
This photo of a damaged hospital room, taken May 24, became an iconic photo, used in newscasts around the world.
The only thing unscathed at St. John’s Regional Medical Center was a statue in front of the building of the Mercy Cross being elevated by two strong hands.
Satellite trucks started setting up immediately in the area – where they could find spots
Trucks from every station imaginable began lining this street in Joplin
Joplin case study: Social media and Crisis Management
Joplin Tornado Case Study:<br />Communicating<br />After a Disaster<br />
About Mercy<br />8TH largest Catholic health system in U.S.<br />Home office in St. Louis; hospital, physician offices and other services in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma; outreach ministries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi<br />28 acute care hospitals<br />38,000 co-workers<br />1,500 Mercy Clinic physicians<br />
Mercy MarCom<br />Moved to centralized structure in spring 2010<br />92 co-workers across four states<br />Local marketing/communications teams supported by functional/consolidated teams representing:<br />Newsmaking<br />Business Development<br />Creative Services<br />Digital<br />Mercy Experience (voice of the customer research)<br />
Mercy in Joplin<br />One of our newest communities<br />Joined Mercy in November 2009, transferring from Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver<br />Good fit culturally – originally established by the Sisters of Mercy<br />Good fit strategically – surrounded by existing Mercy communities in SW Missouri, SE Kansas and NW Arkansas<br />
The Disaster<br />Date: Sunday, May 22, 2011 <br />Time: 5:41 p.m.<br />Impact: 6½ miles long, ¾ mile wide band of destruction<br />Hospital patients: 183 inpatients; <br /> 25 emergency department patients<br />Co-workers: 276 working at the hospital<br />
Crisis Communications TimelineSUNDAY NIGHT<br />Word spreads across Mercy – phone calls, text messages, e-mails<br />Temporary command center established in Springfield<br />Executive, operational and communications/media leaders and staff both on-the-ground and by phone, text, e-mail devise initial plan<br />
MONDAY: Joplin<br />Early morning – Four members of Springfield communications/media team arrive in Joplin to support three-member team in Joplin<br />Key task: manage media on the ground at hospital site, Memorial Hall and other locations<br />Secondary: manage incoming media calls<br />Ongoing: Coordinating with team in St. Louis and other Mercy locations (twice daily – or more often – conference calls throughout day/week)<br />
MONDAY: St. Louis<br />Communications SWAT team formed in St. Louis<br />Communications command center established in board room at St. John’s Mercy<br />Manage internal messaging<br />Handle overflow media calls and coordinated release of news to media<br />Coordinate with Foundation Office on donations, HR on co-worker communications/support, Administration on volunteer support<br />Execute web strategy, including social media<br />
Social Media<br />Step 1: Build out the Joplin section of Mercy.net<br />Step 2: Review social media dialogue plan<br />Step 3: Set up listening posts<br />Step 4: Build out our social media tools<br />Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flikr, Intranet<br />
Social Media Uses <br />Communicate to both co-workers and community<br />Reinforce facts where dialogue is taking place<br />Promote “response-rebuild” message of hope to community<br />
TUESDAY<br />Command center moved from Springfield to Joplin (Holiday Inn Convention Center)<br />Determine need for more on-the-ground media support<br />Media relations staff from Kansas arrive to support Springfield/Joplin team<br />Media relations staff from Oklahoma, Hot Springs and Washington round out on-the-ground support through rest of week<br />Plan news conference in Joplin for Wednesday<br />
Joplin Recovery<br />Joplin Command Center<br />Convention Center in Joplin became a temporary command center<br />
WEDNESDAY<br />“We will rebuild” – mid-morning news conference in Joplin<br />Covered live by online media outlets, taped and broadcast locally and nationally<br />News release picked up around the world<br />Combination of guerilla tactics and social media<br />
THURSDAY-SUNDAY<br />Satellite trucks begin to leave but calls continue<br />New field hospital – St. John’s Mercy Hospital – opens at 7 a.m. on Sunday, one week after the tornado<br />New hospital is blessed at 5:57 p.m., one week to the minute that the tornado struck<br />
Lessons Learned<br />Crisis planning is critical but must be flexible in moment (impossible to plan for everything)<br />Value of a coordinated communications/ media team – ability to bring resources to bear<br />Social media has forever changed how we communicate and what is news – we can influence but not control<br />
Social Media Lessons<br />People demand hyper-transparency<br />It’s less about control and more about listening<br />Teamwork between digital and newsmaking teams key to success<br />When traditional systems break down, social media takes on added influence<br />
42<br />Broadcast vs. Social<br />BROADCAST<br />Brand in control<br />One way / Delivering a message<br />Repeating the message<br />Focused on the brand<br />Educating<br />Organization Creates Content<br />SOCIAL MEDIA<br />Audience in control<br />Two way / Being a part of a conversation<br />Adapting the message/ beta<br />Focused on the audience / Adding value<br />Influencing, involving<br />User created content / Co-creation<br />
BY THE NUMBERS<br />Approximately 15 people deployed for on-the-ground media management during first week <br />Media relations team supplemented by business development, marketing staff, even a graphic designer<br />Another 4 to 6 managed calls from other locations either full or part-time<br />4 to 6 team members in St. Louis managed internal communications, web, news releases<br />
BY THE NUMBERS<br />Managed estimated 500 media interviews and calls in first 48 hours alone<br />Vocus found 1,000 stories a day for first 3 days<br />Several thousand media requests to date (lost count after 1,000 – still attempting to track them all)<br />First day without media calls (including weekends): June 19<br />200% increase in traffic to mercy.net<br />40% from Facebook<br />
Biggest Challenges<br />Volume of media on the ground<br />Spotty telecommunications<br />Dealing with shock<br />Biggest surprise – media were for most part patient and kind<br />
A New Beginning<br />New Hospital Announced Yesterday!<br />Groundbreaking January 2012<br />Opening 2014<br />$950 million investment in rebuilding Joplin<br />