Thursday, March 20, 2008

Healthcare 2.0

I was at the hospital the other day because I was experiencing a pain in my right foot that my doctor said might be a stress fracture from overtraining. As it's only a few blocks away from my apartment, I opted to go to St. Mary's Medical Center.

They have a pretty clever advertising campaign on the streets near the hospital where the theme is a quote that you would hear right before someone is about to do something dangerously stupid, for instance "The expiration dates is just a guideline, right?" Followed by information on how to make a quick appointment.

They also have a pretty catchy slogan of "get in. get better. get going."

They make it remarkably easy to make an appointment, if you don't feel like spending hundreds of extra dollars unnecessarily by going to the emergency room. Not only can you go to to book an appointment, but you can send an email to and expect a speedy response.

In addition to a contact phone number to book appointments, you can text, that's right, send a text message that says "SEEME" to 89183 and book an appointment that way.

I was impressed. Even when they flaunt their hipness with the following: "P.S. We may be 150 years old, but we're very Web 2.0. To see what they're saying about us on, search the keywords, "St. Mary's Medical Center."

The hospital's advertisement of its Yelp presence impresses me. By directing patients and potential patients to Yelp, the hospital is entrusting its reputation to the only people that it makes logical sense to entrust their reputation - their patients.

This also happens to be a group of people who - with few exceptions (IE having a baby) are probably extremely unhappy to be at the hospital and whose negative experience of injury, sickness, death, etc. can't but have a negative effect on their experience and thus likely their review.

Even the best restaurants receive the occasional poor review from an unimpressed or offended Yelper, but that doesn't keep Yelp from being an extremely positive force for most restaurants that pay attention to what its customers are saying - both at the restaurant and online. The same applies to St. Mary's Medical Center.

By directing us to Yelp, they implicitly advertise that they have confidence in their facilities and quality of service and urge us to discover their quality from other people's first hand experiences.

With Yelp, they're saying "Bring it on."

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