Strategic Communication for Local Public Health Services in Portugal: A Delphi Study

Authors

  • Duarte Vital Brito Public Health Unit Cascais. Western Lisbon Local Health Unit. Lisbon.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20344/amp.19997

Keywords:

Delphi Technique, Health Communication, Portugal, Public Health Administration, Strategic Planning

Abstract

Introduction: Strategic communication plays a decisive role in public health planning and project implementation. However, Portuguese Local Public Health Units, which are responsible for community interventions, still lack guidance models, tools, specialized resources, and training in health communication. The aim of this study was to develop a conceptual model of strategic organizational communication for local public health services, in Portugal.
Methods: This study presents a conceptual model of strategic organizational communication for Local Public Health Units, which was developed through a three-round, modified Delphi online panel. Thirty-seven Portuguese specialists in public health, communication, and community members were invited to analyse a proposed framework, based on an up-to-date literature review. High retention rates were observed in all rounds (first = 22 valid participations;
second = 21 valid participations; third = 18 valid participations).
Results: Most participants believed that Portuguese Public Health Units were not prepared to communicate effectively and that they would benefit from adequate planning and identification of a communication lead or team. Websites and social media were also identified as essential for effective communication. The validated conceptual model integrated different partners in health and in the community, with emphasis on the relationships with the national network of health authorities, other Public Health Units, primary health care units, municipalities, and schools. The preferred channels identified for communicating with these partners included interpersonal relationships, email, and mobile phone. No consensus was obtained for preferred communication channels between Local Public Health Units and the media.
Conclusion: Strategic planning based on the proposed conceptual model involving different stakeholders, has potential to improve the effectiveness of internal and external communication and facilitate the implementation of public health programs and projects. The proposed model needs to be validated in Local Public Health Units, considering the potential human, material, and financial constraints.

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Published

2024-04-01

How to Cite

1.
Vital Brito D. Strategic Communication for Local Public Health Services in Portugal: A Delphi Study. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2024 Apr. 1 [cited 2024 Apr. 23];37(4):251-6. Available from: https://www.actamedicaportuguesa.com/revista/index.php/amp/article/view/19997

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