We recognize and understand the importance of the media as a principal channel to and representative of the public’s interest and need for information about the work we undertake here. As a result, we strive to work with the media as closely and cooperatively as possible to ensure a successful outcome. However, as a medical institution our media relations activities are governed by an important and overriding set of principles:
- Patients come first
We provide outstanding personal and dedicated cardiovascular care to everyone who needs it. The needs and wishes of our patients and their families outweigh our desire to help the media. We may refuse interview requests based on a patient’s medical condition, request for privacy, lack of interest in the story, and other reasons. Please recognize and respect that patients are here, first and foremost, to cope with a stressful and challenging medical condition. We need to let them heal.
- Staff are not obliged to do interviews
While we do all that we can to encourage the participation of our physicians, nurses, researchers, scientists, administrators and others, our staff have the right to refuse to do media interviews. Our policy is to respect such wishes and we will endeavour to find a suitable alternate.
- All media relations activities are coordinated through UOHI’s media relations
Direct contact with our staff is strongly discouraged. We can ensure a faster and better response from the Heart Institute if you coordinate interviews through our Media Relations department.
For safety and privacy reasons, media who are on-site will be accompanied by a Media Relations representative at all times. Photography and videography may be restricted to certain parts of the Heart Institute, depending upon circumstances. Unaccompanied media will be immediately escorted off the premises.
- Media relations are conducted fairly, responsibly and ethically
We work with any professional media organization to the extent that we are able. We do not play favourites or seek to gain advantage by inducing competition between media outlets. We work with individual media to cultivate stories and respect the need for confidentiality to ensure such stories come to fruition. We do not disclose the activities of one media organization to another.
We do not participate in media stories that intentionally or unintentionally infringe upon ethical guidelines established for the practice of medicine, or seriously delay or impair our ability to provide medical treatment.
- We must respect our legal obligations
In Ontario, patient privacy provisions and other requirements shape our media relations practice. Before proceeding with interviews or releasing information, we will ensure that all requisite legal needs, such as patient consent, are fulfilled. In practice, this can sometimes inject delays in our ability to meet your deadline so we request as much advance notice for interviews as is feasible.