Health Care Crisis Communications

Steve Littlejohn has more than 20 years health care crisis communications experience assisting organizations successfully navigate clinical and other crises, including data breaches.

  • He supported one of the nation’s leading providers of correctional medical services respond to issues involving prisoner health care — magnified because such care is a constitutional right.
  • Under an arrangement with a medical malpractice insurer, Steve was on call for hospitals when adverse events occurred with the media at the door.  Often, he would then work with those hospitals on reputation recovery.  
  • While at Express Scripts, he successfully managed tough media questioning of the pharmacy benefit management business model and communicated with both media and clients in the wake of a data breach.
  • During his tenure at Mallinckrodt/Covidien, Steve publicly responded to global concerns over shortages of critical medical isotopes and to issues related to prescription drug abuse and the company’s efforts to stop it.

Steve’s advice to organizations in crisis is clear.  Keep the following objectives uppermost as a guide for action:  (1) safety, (2) integrity, (3) relationships, and (4) reputation.  In making choices decide first for safety.  Act in ways that reinforce safety, maintain integrity, and foster relationships, and reputation will take care of itself.

For more, see the recent article, Germanwings, Ebola Crisis Communications Learnings, and read Steve’s chapter appearing in the Patient Safety Handbook (2003), “Medical Error and Patient Safety:  Communicating with the Media.”



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