Does social media make people hate hospitals?

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What bothers me the most about hospitals is the scary beeping equipment, masked people, the potential of needles having to be placed in a vein, and the hallways where I always seem to run into a person in scrubs pushing a patient down the hall on a stretcher.


My mind quickly conjures up scenarios—the patient is either in pain or extremely contagious. Either way, I feel simultaneously scared and sad. Also, topping my list is the general poking and prodding physicians and nurses do. And did I mention the backless robes?


I’m not naive. I’ll admit some of my best and most important moments in my life have taken place in a hospital, like the birth of my two children and the time surgeons saved my life after my appendix burst. It’s the outcomes I like—not the process.

I don’t think my attitude is different than most people. We go to hospitals because it’s necessary—not because we want to be there.


Graphic videos, masks, pokes and prods


So, it continues to surprise and disappoint me that so many hospitals use social media to share exactly what I don’t want to see. There are graphic videos of procedures and tours of rooms displaying new beeping equipment, and lots of people photographed who are wearing masks and holding things that poke and prod.


I was in a hospital last week that has an enormous TV on the wall in the lobby. And what was it showing? A surgical procedure. Here in this beautiful hospital lobby where they clearly had given some thought to de-institutionalizing it, using warm colors and dark wood finishes, they were showing a procedure with all my least favorite items—a stretcher, masked men, and scary-looking machines with needle-like instruments protruding from them. They were showing the process, not the outcome.

Are you reflecting the process or the outcome?


Next time you prepare to send a tweet or post a video for your hospital, ask yourself if it reflects the process or the outcome.


I’m not saying hospitals should not offer graphic videos or photos for those who desire them. There are some people who want every bit of information before they have a procedure, including viewing graphic videos. Make those available on a special channel, but don’t lead your Twitter campaign with them or hold people hostage by putting those graphic images on your homepage. Those images only serve to further remind social media communities why they don’t like hospitals.


Share the outcomes and you’ll reinforce why they appreciate hospitals and the people who work in them.

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