GenY to the Xpower

Tweeting ER wait times by Valerie Hoven
March 10, 2010, 7:52 pm
Filed under: HIT, Web 2.0 | Tags: ,

When your kid falls and busts his head open, are you going to pack him in the car and then check your phone for the local ERs with the quickest wait times? I wouldn’t, but then again, I don’t have any kids, so I don’t know wtf I’d do if he started bleeding. I’d make his dad take care of it.

Anyway, just like rapping about hand-washing, tweeting ER wait times seems to be the biggest social media craze for hospitals. Is it helpful? I don’t see value in it. For my hospital, we are huge, and our ER rarely has a short wait time. But if you have a stroke, you better come no where else but here.

What’s important is knowing where to go for injuries. When it’s serious, come to the best (like the 9th best hospital in the nation). But if it’s stitches for a cut, then go to the local community hospital. And those are the hospitals who are tweeting their wait times every hour, and it’s usually “less than 15 minute wait in the ER now.” It’s usually a short wait! So go tell promote it in other ways! I don’t see myself as the mommy who downloads the iPhone app so you can tell me 24 times a day that you have a short wait time. I know to go there for quick fixes, and no tweet needs to tell me that repeatedly.

Meanwhile, I need to know what to do with my aging parents more than my clumsy kids. And my parents will more than likely need top heart and/or cancer care in the next decade or so, and I don’t need a tweet to tell me that the nearby emergency room has a 10-minute-wait. A tweet can help reinforce a brand perhaps. And that brand can promote your community-style-care or your national-leader-in-medicine-care. Two different styles for two different kinds of treatments. Both are good in their own ways, and I want my social media to promote that.