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The PHERCC Matrix. An Ethical Framework for Planning, Governing, and Evaluating Risk and Crisis Communication in the Context of Public Health Emergencies


Spitale, Giovanni; Germani, Federico; Biller-Andorno, Nikola (2024). The PHERCC Matrix. An Ethical Framework for Planning, Governing, and Evaluating Risk and Crisis Communication in the Context of Public Health Emergencies. The American Journal of Bioethics, 24(4):67-82.

Abstract

In this paper we propose a consistent definition of the risk and crisis communication process in the context of public health emergency (PHERCC), which comprises six key elements: evidence, initiator, channel, public, message, and feedback. Based on these elements and on a detailed analysis of their role in PHERCC, we define an ethical framework to help designing, governing and evaluating PHERCC strategies. The presented framework is based on effectiveness and justice, intended as fairness. It comprises five principles: openness, transparency, inclusivity, understandability, and privacy. The resulting matrix helps understanding the interplay between the PHERCC process and the principles of the framework, simplifying its implementation with real life examples and scenarios. The paper includes suggestions and recommendations for the implementation of the PHERCC matrix, including the role of censorship and the regulation of free speech; education and empowerment of the public; trust, data access, and contextualization; feedback bias and bias propagation; and reflections revolving around the is-ought issue.

Abstract

In this paper we propose a consistent definition of the risk and crisis communication process in the context of public health emergency (PHERCC), which comprises six key elements: evidence, initiator, channel, public, message, and feedback. Based on these elements and on a detailed analysis of their role in PHERCC, we define an ethical framework to help designing, governing and evaluating PHERCC strategies. The presented framework is based on effectiveness and justice, intended as fairness. It comprises five principles: openness, transparency, inclusivity, understandability, and privacy. The resulting matrix helps understanding the interplay between the PHERCC process and the principles of the framework, simplifying its implementation with real life examples and scenarios. The paper includes suggestions and recommendations for the implementation of the PHERCC matrix, including the role of censorship and the regulation of free speech; education and empowerment of the public; trust, data access, and contextualization; feedback bias and bias propagation; and reflections revolving around the is-ought issue.

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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:Health Policy, Issues, ethics and legal aspects
Language:English
Date:2 April 2024
Deposited On:04 May 2023 12:30
Last Modified:30 Mar 2024 02:35
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1526-5161
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/15265161.2023.2201191
Related URLs:https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7689304
PubMed ID:37114888
Project Information:
  • : FunderWorld Health Organization
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderSwiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation
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  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)