We have been prominent in the public eye throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and there have been many things to communicate.

We drew up our first coronavirus communications plans in early February. When the first case was diagnosed at HUS at the end of February, we held a joint briefing with the National Institute for Health and Welfare, as per the plan.

With this, we deployed our practice for communications in emergency situations, whose target groups are our own personnel, the public at large, our partners and public decision-makers. Throughout the pandemic, our communications people have attended meetings of working groups that are central in managing the pandemic, and within the communications department, coronavirus duties were assigned to a small core team.

Communications to the media and to patients

The coronavirus pandemic multiplied the volume of our external communications many times over. During the year under review, we published about 200 media bulletins and online news items about the coronavirus. HUS experts and managers gave an enormous number of interviews in the course of the year, besides appearing on current affairs programs and at press conferences. Our visibility in the media increased substantially.

The visibility of HUS in the digital news media exploded in March, and throughout the year the news coverage related to the coronavirus pandemic far outstripped any previous news coverage involving HUS in sheer quantity.

Because of the ban on visitors and because of epidemiological safety, it was not possible to hold press conferences in person after the initial stage of the pandemic. Instead, we held 17 coronavirus briefings streamed live to the media and to the public at large. Our own photographers recorded events in the year of the coronavirus. We released some of these images to the media, because we could not allow photographers from outside into our premises.

We assembled a separate and dedicated coronavirus info package on the HUS website. In the spring, we posted videos with basic information about the coronavirus in multiple languages. Some of these videos attracted a significant number of views. We printed a great deal of posters with instructions to display in our premises for patients, visitors and employees, and we also distributed information through the digital info displays. We also discussed the coronavirus prominently in our social media channels throughout the year and attracted increasing numbers of followers.

Constantly updated instructions challenge in-house communications

Particularly in the early days of the pandemic, guidelines and updates to instructions were published in rapid succession. We compiled all coronavirus-related guidelines in a single Intranet sub-website that was visited by 28,000 individuals during the year, with total visits exceeding one million.

We informed the entire personnel about new and updated guidelines and bulletins in personnel news digests sent by e-mail. These also included the most recent news from the meetings of the pandemic coordination group. Initially, this personnel news digest was sent out every day. Once the situation became less hectic, we cut back to twice a week.

We shortened the interval between releases of current affairs videos by management, and the majority of the management videos posted during the year had to do with the coronavirus. The purpose of these videos was to give employees an overview of the pandemic situation and to boost their morale under these exceptional circumstances.