I tend to check in via Foursquare as a way to both show my support for a local establishment, and the “tips” section within the app is also helpful to share my experiences for other potential customers. Compared to social media, it seems like the standard pen and paper commenting system is taking a back seat (more like the trunk) when it comes to getting feedback on your products and services.
I was inspired by a blog post from one of RN.FM Radio’s previous guests, Martine Ehrenclou author of the Take Charge Patient where she wrote about her husband’s recent urgent care experience. Just to preface, it was typical guy stuff that involved a hockey injury to his finger that needed immediate attention, but like most men we just lean in the direction of letting it resolve on its own. This particular outcome was positive, but it was indeed an injury that required some stitches to help prevent infection and a wedding band that needed to be cut off prior to the procedure. Apparently the nurse was a little nervous with the saw that was to do the actual cutting, but Martine’s husband seemed to know his way around tools and decided to literally take the matter into his own hands.
This just brought me back to the days when I lived in Virginia and stories like this were pretty common, except they were mostly occurring in someone else’s garage with a standby of 100 proof whiskey to sterilize the area and some duct tape to keep out the “dirt” so they could get back to dropping in that big block 385 V8 engine into a Ford pickup.
Sounds like the start of a good Charlie Daniels Band song:
“Grab that saw and hand it over here son. Hold that finger down and let me show you how it’s done…”
Now prior to Martine and her husband’s arrival to the urgent care, she was researching online reviews of centers in their area. I know many of us use Yelp or Google reviews to find comments on restaurants, but I don’t think most of us think about using it as a tool to find medical care. I applaud her efforts to head to the InterWebs to find more information about patient experiences.
I was talking to a friend of mine just last year about getting more involved in social media and encouraging his patients to post reviews online. Overall it seems his patients felt as if they were receiving great care, but he was desperate to grow his practice and looking for ways to get the word out. He initially laughed at me by even suggesting it, but since he decided to take that advice his practice started growing and he even had to hire two more docs.
Openly sharing our experiences has become a fairly common practice. It might even be to a fault. You know who you are. Updating your Facebook profile with your sore throats, influenza, and sinus infection stories. I don’t want to come across as insensitive. I hope you feel better, but it’s just not as cool as Martine’s story.
So if we’re going to be sharing a few of our more intimate details, how about if we help each other out? Due to HIPPA regulations the hospitals can’t necessarily share this information, but by our own free will we certainly can. And we obviously do. So if you’re one of those TMI sharing types, how about when you check in at the ER you also check in on Foursquare? One of the helpful features of Foursquare is to see how many people are currently checked in at a particular location. This could really help in a metropolitan area where there are several ER’s to choose from. Folks can pull up their Foursquare app on the phone and see how many people are currently waiting or actively being seen.
Of course my disclaimer is that if you need emergency medical attention, use your smartphone to call 911 or head to the nearest ER immediately.
This may keep that flow of traffic in and out of the ER’s a little more manageable. But, just like any good establishment you may have a more loyal customer base and that particular location is just a happening place. As always your mileage may vary. Foursquare would probably have to update its terms of service, but like I said, we seem to be sharing all of our details with anyone who’s interested (or not).
Hopefully you can see the humor in this post as I don’t really expect this to actually take hold. I couldn’t ethically nor have I ever recommended any of my patients to share their private health information in this way. This is just a random Thursday thought that got me thinking about all of this sharing we do and how we can help each other. At the very least I do find the healthcare related reviews helpful when I’m recommending care for some of the clients I serve.
Martine, thanks for sharing your husband’s experience. Jamie is a lucky guy to have you advocate for him, and he now has a pretty cool story to go along with it.