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PubliCo. A protocol for a new risk and crisis communication platform to bridge the gap between policy makers and the public in the context of the COVID-19 crisis


Spitale, Giovanni; Merten, Sonja; Jafflin, Kristen; Schwind, Bettina; Kaiser-Grolimund, Andrea; Biller-Andorno, Nikola (2021). PubliCo. A protocol for a new risk and crisis communication platform to bridge the gap between policy makers and the public in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. JMIR research protocols, 10(11):e33653.

Abstract

Background: Since the end of 2019, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on citizens around the globe. As governments institute more restrictive measures, public adherence could decrease and discontent mount. Providing high-quality information and countering fake news is important. But we also need feedback loops so that government officials can refine preventive measures and communication strategies. Policy-makers need information - preferably based on real-time data - on the public's cognitive, emotional and behavioural reaction to public health messages and restrictive measures. PubliCo aims to foster effective and tailored risk and crisis communication as well as an assessment of the risks and benefits of prevention and control measures, as their effectiveness depends on public trust and cooperation.

Objective: Our project aims to develop a tool that helps tackle the COVID-19 infodemic, with a focus on enabling a nuanced and in-depth understanding of public perception. The project adopts a trans-disciplinary multi-stakeholder approach, including participatory citizen science.

Methods: We combine literature and media review and analysis and empirical research using mixed methods, including an online survey and diary-based research, both of which are ongoing and continuously updated. Building on real-time data and continuous data collection, our research results will be highly adaptable to the evolving situation.

Results: As of September 2021, two thirds of the tool we propose are up and running. Current development cycles focus on the analytics component, on user experience, and on interface refinements. We collected a total of 473 responses through PubliCo Survey, and 22 diaries through PubliCo Diaries.

Conclusions: Pilot data show that PubliCo is a promising and efficient concept for bidirectional risk and crisis communication in the context of public health crises; further data are needed to assess its function at a larger scale or in the context of an issue other than COVID-19.

Abstract

Background: Since the end of 2019, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on citizens around the globe. As governments institute more restrictive measures, public adherence could decrease and discontent mount. Providing high-quality information and countering fake news is important. But we also need feedback loops so that government officials can refine preventive measures and communication strategies. Policy-makers need information - preferably based on real-time data - on the public's cognitive, emotional and behavioural reaction to public health messages and restrictive measures. PubliCo aims to foster effective and tailored risk and crisis communication as well as an assessment of the risks and benefits of prevention and control measures, as their effectiveness depends on public trust and cooperation.

Objective: Our project aims to develop a tool that helps tackle the COVID-19 infodemic, with a focus on enabling a nuanced and in-depth understanding of public perception. The project adopts a trans-disciplinary multi-stakeholder approach, including participatory citizen science.

Methods: We combine literature and media review and analysis and empirical research using mixed methods, including an online survey and diary-based research, both of which are ongoing and continuously updated. Building on real-time data and continuous data collection, our research results will be highly adaptable to the evolving situation.

Results: As of September 2021, two thirds of the tool we propose are up and running. Current development cycles focus on the analytics component, on user experience, and on interface refinements. We collected a total of 473 responses through PubliCo Survey, and 22 diaries through PubliCo Diaries.

Conclusions: Pilot data show that PubliCo is a promising and efficient concept for bidirectional risk and crisis communication in the context of public health crises; further data are needed to assess its function at a larger scale or in the context of an issue other than COVID-19.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Medicine / COVID-19
Language:English
Date:1 November 2021
Deposited On:22 Oct 2021 08:38
Last Modified:25 Feb 2024 02:45
Publisher:JMIR Publications
ISSN:1929-0748
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.2196/33653
PubMed ID:34612823
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)