Healthcare is currently looking at how it might use another of the myriad new tools being ushered in by the digital technology revolution. Referred to generally as “geolocation,” these tools include names like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Google Places, and give users the ability to “check in” with friends to let them know where they are.
Geolocation is made possible by mobile applications that work with your smartphone’s GPS system. Developed originally as a means for friends to alert each other of their whereabouts, it is now also being used to share instant reviews and news about different locations, be it a restaurant or a clinic waiting room.
The sites also often allow users to post their location to other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly, some companies have sought to use this functionality as a means for offering discounts or incentives.
The question facing many in healthcare is does this technology make sense for them. There are HIPAA concerns to consider. But the service could give healthcare organizations a new way to share targeted health information. For example, some pharmacies are using the applications to promote services such as flu shots.
In another example, the Kaiser Family Foundation partnered with Foursquare and MTV for an STD awareness campaign. It encouraged people to follow MTV on Foursquare, check in after getting tested, and shout “GYT” (Get Yourself Tested) to their followers. Participants were then entered to win a trip for two to New York City and backstage passes to MTV’s 10 on Top.
Today, the opportunities are only limited by one’s imagination.
Till next time,