Patients broadcasting checkin-information, feedback, efficacy is a new trend both Physicians and Patient communities are experiencing.
There are facets to such adoptions. Geolocation services can be a great marketing and publicity vehicle for pharmacies and practice organizations. Compliance to HIPAA however remains a concern and critical achievement.
Geolocation services: Have your patients put you on the map?
Mobile applications let people “check in” anywhere to let others know where they are — including your practice. But applications also let people talk about you.
Through a technology called geolocation, mobile smartphone users have the ability to “check in” at various businesses and locations, alerting their virtual friends to their whereabouts. They do this using mobile phone applications that work with a smartphone’s GPS system, which identifies the users’ location.
these same applications that are allowing patients to check in allow the user to provide instant reviews, observations and critiques. So after you leave that patient’s exam room, they could have feedback about their visit with you posted online before you even review the next patient’s chart. Or, they could be posting critiques while they’re waiting before the appointment, or waiting for you in the exam room.
But is checking in at a practice something physicians should encourage patients to do?
hen he showed his dental hygienist the list of people “checked in” at the dental office on Foursquare at that moment, “and she freaked out
“Medical professionals are trained to be cautious about medical data,” Kirkpatrick said.
Anthony LaFauce, director of digital strategy for SpectrumScience, a health care public relations firm in Washington, D.C., said he has seen pharmacies using geolocation applications to promote services such as flu shots. Physician practices could do similar promotions, he said, but so far he hasn’t seen any doing it.
Encouraging patients to check in might seem like an easy way to promote the practice, but Boyer said he would not recommend that, either. He said physicians who encourage patients to post to geolocation apps might send the wrong message, because it would equate to them encouraging repeat visits — a good strategy for retailers, but not for physician practices. There’s also the issue of HIPAA
Foursquare: Allows users to check in and earn badges or become “mayor” for checking in the most times.
Gowalla: Gives users virtual passport stamps and digital souvenirs for checking in.
Facebook Places: Allows Facebook users to check in to let their Facebook friends know where they’ve been.
Google Places: Allows users to find businesses based on their current locations.
Brightkite: Combines the act of checking in with the ability to follow others and to post and respond to comments.
Loopt: Combines Loopt and Facebook friends and allows users to see where their friends are on one map.
ArcGIS: Allows users to create their own customized maps using their own data.