Imagine these social media messages
• OMG he’s beautiful. 8 lbs. 3 oz. The doctor is looking him over right now. More later.
• Mom is doing great. Just out of surgery and in recovery. No word from the doctor yet. I’ll keep you posted unless nurse Ratched confiscates my laptop. She has vetoed cell phones in the waiting room. Not sure why.
• Here she is! One hour old and already stealing our hearts. Labor went fast and our nurses were fabulous.
• We’re still in the waiting room. Apparently we didn’t make the list of high priorities. Should I file a change of address form? LOL
These short comments are just a sample of the correspondence that could be shooting through cyberspace from your waiting rooms, patient rooms and just about any other nook or cranny of your hospital. Today’s consumers are wired and communicating non-stop using laptops and cell phones to share opinions and keep loved ones up-to-date on their breaking news. I know because I’m one of them.
Social Media and the Patient Experience
Between my Blackberry and my laptop with its trusty air card, I’m able to log in and stay in touch with family and friends at all hours of the day and night and from any location in the world. And for me it’s great because as the nurse in a large but close knit family, I am usually the one to keep my nine siblings up to speed on medical events involving my parents. There have been times when I have felt like a medical correspondent broadcasting live from various hospital waiting rooms as I deliver the updates to anxiously awaiting family members. Frankly I love it. When my grandson was born in January, I was able to share the big news within minutes.
In addition to old-fashioned email, the uncensored, real-time communication venues like Twitter and Facebook allow patients and family members to post their thoughts, opinions and even photos of their life’s most important events to viewers from around the world. And rest assured; many of those events are happening within your four walls. While we talk about transparency, our consumers are throwing back the curtain and unveiling their health care encounters with millions. We can’t hide and we can’t spin. What we can do, is make sure that we are consistently performing at our best. Keep raising the bar.