[A new understanding of risk communication in public health emergencies].Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2022 May; 65(5):545-551.BG
Risk communication of public institutions should support the population in the decision-making process in the event of existing risks. It plays a particularly important role in health emergencies such as the SARS-CoV‑2 pandemic. After the SARS outbreak in 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) revised its International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) and called for risk communication to be established as a core area of health policy in all member countries. While the emphasis on health policy was welcomed, the potential for risk communication in this area has not yet been fully exploited. Reasons include discrepancies in the understanding of risk communication and the large number of available methods.This discussion article is intended to help establish a new understanding of risk communication in public health emergencies (emergency risk communication - ERC). It is suggested that, in addition to the risks, the opportunities of the crisis should be included more and that risk communication should be understood more as a continuous process that can be optimized at various points. The "Earlier-Faster-Smoother-Smarter" approach and in particular the earlier detection of health risks ("Earlier") could support the management of public health emergencies in the future.