COVID-19

We hope that you find this page useful to find and share resources for healthcare communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a challenging time for all of us, particularly those working in healthcare professions whether that be in practice, teaching, research or policy. This page points you to existing resources, EACH resources and also opportunities where you can share your experiences or concerns within our friendly & supportive community. We are here for you.

Covid 19

EACH Resources

Below are a list of resources that have been developed by and/or in collaboration with EACH.  This list will be continually updated with new resources.

Top Tips for Delivering Communication Skills Teaching Online

To help in these challenging times EACH has put together a series of practical guides aimed at helping teachers of healthcare communication, simulated patients and learners consider the challenges and potential adaptations for online communication skills teaching.

Teachers | Students | Simulated Patients | ALOBA Framework | Full Guide

Developed by: Sandra Winterburn, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia & Marcy Rosenbaum, University Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

E-learning Course: Communication Skills for Telephone Consultations

Many healthcare staff are now carrying out consultations on the telephone.  This is often a type of consultation that staff have not encountered prior to COVID-19 and can be an area of anxiety.  This course demonstrates how applying the core skills of the Calgary-Cambridge Guide to telephone consultations provides a structured and patient-centred approach.  We hope you find this online learning package useful.

This was developed by:
Developed by EACH, NHCP, RCSI, HSE, NCICP

Telehealth tip sheet for phone & video consultations

This tip sheet emphasizes both communication & workflow issues.

Developed by: Kelly Skelly & Marcy Rosenbaum from University Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Calgary-Cambridge guides on telephone consultations & difficult conversations

These two documents aim to support clinicians working in the current COVID-19 crisis.  They have been designed to work well on mobiles with an interactive contents page so you can refresh knowledge just before a particular task.

Difficult Conversations    Telephone Consultations

Developed in partnership with the Irish Health Service (HSE).

Resource list

Below is a list of categorised resources, which we have summarised briefly to help you see at a glance which might be useful for you. This list will be continually updated with new resources. If you have a resource that you think would be useful for us to share please upload this on the public forum. All resources will be vetted before being published and we will only be sharing those directly related to healthcare communication.

Communication teaching during COVID-19

A bibliography from the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) of distance and online learning resources for teaching communication with simulated patients.

Distance Learning and telehealth teaching resources.

University of Minnesota Webinar recording: Zooming with SPs in COVID-19 Response: Using Zoom to train Standardized Patients (SPs) and implement formative Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCEs) with health science students.

Virtual OSCE guides for students, SPs and monitors from Northwestern University Fineberg School of Medicine.

Association of American Medical Colleges resources on Clinical Teaching and Learning Experiences without Physical Patient Contact including teaching about Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Resources to help shift curriculum to online, developed by a group of faculty development leads in Canada. Includes a wide variety of items, for example ‘how to teach online’, tools for creating online materials etc.

Pearls for Writing a Virtual Care Field Note: adaptive communication.

Credible information resources during COVID-19

The Frontiers Coronavirus Knowledge Hub provides an up to date source of trusted information and analysis on COVID-19 and coronaviruses, including the latest research articles, information and commentary.

An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst (NEJM Catalyst) – At the Epicentre of the Covid-19 Pandemic and Humanitarian Crisis in Italy: Changing Perspectives on Preparation and Mitigation, Nacoti et. al.

Communicating with patients and families during COVID-19

Our sister organisation, Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH) has put together a selection of communication tools, member stories & support for well-being.

VitalTalk has created a playbook with tips on how to sustainably communicate with honesty, empathy and compassion.  This link enables you to view the playbook in different languages.

WONCA have a series of articles relevant to family doctors as well as links to the World Health Organisation and other reputable websites which contain valuable information for family doctors having to deal with COVID-19 cases.

Drawing attention to difficulty of controlling fake news during an epidemic.

How to communicate with families living in compete isolation. Paper from Giulia Lamiani and Colleagues and approved by the main Italian societies of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Palliative Care (SIAARTI, ANIARTI, SICP and SIMEU).

Communicating Covid-19 issues to people with Intellectual Disability and/or Autism resource.

A book with explanation of Covid19 for children. A nice way to explain it.

WHO Social media cards are meant for for healthworkers: for  sharing on their social media channels.

Evidence based guidance on how to have difficult conversations with patients of Covid-19 & their families

How to talk to loved ones & your healthcare team about your wishes & goals if you become sick with COVID-19.

MVP is a practical three-step process that is easy to teach (to learners at all levels), remember, and employ in all types of serious illness conversations, developed by the Advanced Communication Training (ACT) Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

MVP for COVID – an overview of MVP and the supporting communication skills: Empower, be Explicit, Empathize
ACT “Stool Card” for COVID – pocket-sized printable quick-reference guide for challenging conversations in the COVID era. (Smartphone version)

Our sister organisation, Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH) has some useful resources to enable telephone and video consultations.

An article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) – Covid-19: a remote assessment in primary care, Greenhalgh & Huat Koh.

This paper is authored by Sara E Shaw, Prof Trisha Greenhalgh and colleagues and is a particularly robust analysis of video consultations and potential barriers.

COVID-19 communication research

To help find publications about COVID-19 and communication between patients and healthcare professionals, including information for patients / public from healthcare professionals.

Authors: Arwen H Pieterse (rEACH) and Jan Schoones (librarian Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands)

WEEK 5

Highlight by Richard Brown PhD, Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University & US National Representative.
Risk Communication During COVID-19
Authors: Elissa M.Abrams, MDa Matthew GreenhawtMD, MBA, MScb
Journal Of Allergy and Clinical Practice. In Press online 2020.
Currently there are 1.7 million cases of Covid – 19 in the United States and the US now has surpassed 100000 deaths from the virus. Many states are now re-opening in spite of the ongoing threat of infections and deaths caused by the virus. This article highlights the importance of effective risk communication. The authors point out that heightened fear or dread factors experienced by many Americans lead to hoarding of medications and personal protective equipment. As a method to mitigate these experiences, the authors emphasize the importance of targeted risk communication that; is delivered through social media to maximize reach, is consistent in messaging and not sensationalize when delivered through the media, involves all stakeholder in order to both alert and comfort the population.  I chose this article as I have been involved in teaching oncologists communication skills to enhance their delivery of prognostic information and bad news to cancer patients for much of my career. I have always believed that sensitive interpersonal consultation communication about cancer risk is a pathway to mitigate patients’ anxiety and fear. This article struck me as I think about whole populations, including us in the United states, who need to hear population based public health messages that are far reaching, consistent, and can offer comfort to a fearful world.

Highlight by Maria Stubbe, Associate Professor, Primary Health Care & General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand, EACH NZ National Representative
Virtual health care in the era of COVID-19
Author: Paul Webster P.
The Lancet. 2020;395(10231):1180‐1181. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30818-7
Paul Webster provides a thought-provoking commentary on the unprecedented transition to telemedicine occasioned by COVID-19. Will this transformation persist after the pandemic, and what are the risks and benefits? Communication is key to both questions. On the one hand, there is a fear that the increased efficiency and cost saving of virtual consultations may be outweighed by less effective communication and an associated decline in quality of care. On the other hand, the ascent of virtual health care in a world where the smartphone is everywhere may revolutionise equity of access to health services, especially in the developing world or in remote communities where opportunities for face-to-face consultation are scarce. In Aotearoa New Zealand it has been suggested that general practice and primary mental health care in particular may never return to the ‘old normal’; this issue is thus of particular importance as we strive to address already significant inequalities in health care and health outcomes and that made this publication stand out for me.

WEEK 4

Highlight by Marlene Sator, EACH Austria National Representative
Discussing Serious News Remotely: Navigating Difficult Conversations During a Pandemic
Authors: Ryan G. Holstead, Andrew G. Robinson
This paper discusses the practical and technical aspects of delivering bad news via remote consultations and reviews some differences, limitations, and advantages of remote discussions. Building on the SPIKES-protocol, the acronym WIRE-SPIKES is suggested to account for some additional considerations for telemedicine. I have chosen this paper because it illustrates how the same communication skills which are relevant for discussing serious news in in-person encounters should be applied with greater care and some minor additions for remote consultations. I like that the authors stress how improving these skills for the use of telemedicine presents a learning opportunity also for communication in in-person encounters.

Highlight by Conor Gilligan, Associate Professor, Discipline of Health Behaviour Science, SMPH, The University of Newcastle (UON), Australia & EACH Australia National Representative
The Parallel Pandemic: Medical Misinformation and COVID-19 Primum non nocere
Authors:  Jennifer S. Love, , Adam Blumenberg, and Zane Horowitz
This article addresses the risky spread of misinformation during this pandemic as it occurs in a social media era. The authors provide several examples of the way in which scientific information can be misinterpreted and extrapolated by the media, politicians, and even clinicians, leading to significant harm. This article resonated with me due to the common experience among friends and colleagues of being overwhelmed and sometimes frightened by the volume of information shared through social media and other outlets – it is clear how the sense of anxiety and panic could lead to rushed decisions and rushed science at the expense of accuracy and safety.

WEEK 3

Highlight by Lorraine Noble, Associate Professor of Clinical Communication, UCL Medical School, London, UK, and EACH UK National Representative
For 7 weeks I have been through a roller coaster of ill health, extreme emotions, and utter exhaustion.
Author: Paul Garner
This is a personal account by a Professor of Infectious Diseases of his experience of having COVID-19. For me, it highlights two central tenets of effective healthcare communication: listening to the patient, and empathy.

Highlight by Marcy Rosenbaum, EACH president-elect and Professor of Family Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, USA
Bereavement support on the frontline of COVID-19: Recommendations for hospital clinicians
Authors: Selman LE, Chao D, et al.
This important article reviews relevant research evidence and provide
evidence-based recommendations and resources for hospital clinicians to mitigate poor bereavement outcomes and to support staff.  This article clearly identifies effective and context specific communication as central to helping patients, families and medical professionals manage the difficult circumstances of Covid-19 related isolation, hospitalization and death.  As well as detailing research supporting these ideas, the authors provide very practical advice for communication behaviors in these contexts.

WEEK 2

Highlight by Marij Hillen, Assistant professor Medical Communication, department of Medical Psychology; Amsterdam Public Health, Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands.
Access to Telemedicine-Are We Doing All That We Can during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Author: Karthik Rajasekaran, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
In this thought-provoking opinion paper, a US-based surgeon points out a potentially severe ‘side-effect’ of the Covid-19 pandemic: many elderly, lower SES patients from rural areas lack the means to conduct teleconsultations during the Covid-19 pandemic, which could contribute to suboptimal care. The author argues that to reduce a ‘digital divide’, patients without smartphone and/or broadband should be provided with tools and skills training to ensure optimal medical care.

Highlight by Sara Rubinelli, EACH President and Associate Professor of Health Communication, Department of Health Sciences and Medicine, University of Lucerne, Switzerland
Risk Communication During COVID-19
Authors: Abrams EM, Greenhawt M
This article is particularly important as it argues for the value of risk communication in the context of public health threats. Although there is a huge literature on risk communication, there is the need to implement it more effectively. The articles explains the potential of good risk communication and the limits of poor risk communication. Moreover, it gives specific strategies on how to successfully engage in this type of communication.

WEEK 1

Highlight by Julia Amann, Postdoc at the Health Ethics and Policy Lab, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Understanding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk perceptions among the public to enhance risk communication efforts: a practical approach for outbreaks, Finland, February 2020. Eurosurveillance, 25(13), 2000317.
The article highlights the importance of understanding public risk perceptions and trust towards public authorities to devise appropriate risk communication strategies. I particularly like this article because it sheds light on what I think is the cornerstone of effective health communication: you need to know your audience. Lohiniva, A. L., Sane, J., Sibenberg, K., Puumalainen, T., & Salminen, M. (2020).

Highlight by Evelyn van Weel-Baumgarten, EACH past president and retired general practitioner/teacher/researcher, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Video consultations for covid-19. An opportunity in a crisis?
This editorial was particularly appealing to me because it offers a relevant reflection on when using video consultations could be appropriate. It includes many references to pre-covid research of the topic, and describes important lessons learned since the outbreak of the pandemic which are hepful for teachers and clinicians and it raises new research questions as well. Authors: Greenhalgh T, Wherton J, Shaw S, Morrison C.

Improving Communication about COVID-19 and Other Emerging Infectious Diseases. Jacobsen KH & Vraga EK

Misinformation of COVID-19 on the Internet: Infodemiology Study.  Cuan-Baltazar JY, Muñoz-Perez MJ, Robledo-Vega C, Pérez-Zepeda MF, Soto-Vega E

Coronavirus: the spread of misinformation. Milan A & Khan S

Data Mining and Content Analysis of Chinese Social Media Platform Weibo During Early COVID-19 Outbreak: A Retrospective Observational Infoveillance Study.  Li J, XuQ, Cuomo R, Purushothaman V, Mackey T

Unpacking the black box: How to promote citizen engagement through government social media during the COVID-19 crisis.  Chen Q, Min C, Zhang W, Wang G, Ma X, Evans R

Social Media Spread During COVID-19: The Pros and Cons of Likes and Shares. O’Brien M, Moore K, McNicholas F

Preventative Behaviours Conveyed on YouTube to Mitigate Transmission of COVID-19: Cross-Sectional Study.  Basch CH, Hillyer GC, Meleo-Erwin ZC, Jaime C, Mohlman J,, Basch CE

Use of Handheld Transceiver for Hospital Healthcare Workers-Caregiver Communication During the COVID-19 Outbreak in Pediatric Emergency Department.  Curatola A, Ferretti S, Gatto A, Chiaretti A

Maintaining Our Humanity Through the Mask: Mindful Communication During COVID-19. Schögl M, Jones C

Crisis Symptom Management and Patient Communication Protocols Are Important Tools for All Clinicians Responding to COVID-19.  Bowman BA, Esch AE, Back AL, Marshall N

Community pharmacists and communication in the time of COVID-19: Applying the health belief model.  Carico RR, Sheppard J, Thomas CB

Protecting the psychological health of children through effective communication about COVID-19.  Dalton L, Rapa E, Stein A

Applying Palliative Care Principles to Communicate with Children about COVID-19.  Weaver MS & Wiener L

Understanding COVID-19 risk perceptions among the public to enhance risk communication efforts: a practical approach for outbreaks, Finland.  Lohiniva AL, Sane J, Sibenberg K, Puumalainen T, Salminen M

Use of Rapid Online Surveys to Assess People’s Perceptions During Infectious Disease Outbreaks: A Cross-sectional Survey on COVID-19.  Geldsetzer P

COVID-19: Peer Support and Crisis Communication Strategies to Promote Institutional Resilience.  Wu AW, Connors C, Everly GS Jr

A Mobile Health Platform to Disseminate Validated Institutional Measurements During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Utilization-Focused Evaluation Study.  Zamberg I, Manzano S, Posfay-Barbe K, Windisch O, Agoritsas T, Schiffer E

Strategies for Disseminating and Implementing COVID-19 Public Health Prevention Practices in Rural Areas.  Prusaczyk B

Effective Risk Communication for Public Health Emergency: Reflection on the COVID-19 Outbreak in Wuhan, China.  Zhan L, Li H, Chen K

Limited early warnings and public attention to COVID-19 in China, January – February 2020: a longitudinal cohort of randomly sampled Weibo users.  Zhu Y, Fu KW, Grépin KA, Liang H, Fung IC

Blocking information on COVID-19 can fuel the spread of misinformation.  Larson HJ

Evidence informing the UK’s COVID-19 public health response must be transparent. Alwan NA et. al.

Applications of google search trends for risk communication in infectious disease management: A case study of COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan.  Husnayain A, Fuad A, Su EC

COVID-19: Real-time dissemination of scientific information to fight a public health emergency of international concern.  Song P, Karako T

Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19.  Calisher C et. al.

A paper about improving risk communication to family physicians  during public health crises.

This is a database of worldwide funding opportunities for research and development that is compiled by Science|Business and is updated on a daily basis.

Lessons learned

A viewpoint from Italy showing that in order to avoid collapse, healthcare systems need to have collaborative emergency networks, as simply increasing ICU capacity is not enough.

EACH searchable resource database

We have a wealth of resources available to EACH members, with many also open to the public.  Please follow this link to search our database.  Do you have a resource you think others would benefit from using?  Please upload it onto the database following the links provided.

Submit a request for a resource you require

Are you struggling to find the resource that you need to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic?  Have you searched our resource database & this page to see if something here could help you?  Still not found what you need?  Click here to submit a request.  We will do our best to find or create what you ask for.

Join the discussion

Join the forum discussions on COVID-19 and other topics here.