What Can a Hospital Learn from Snapchat?

For those of you who don’t follow the trends, Facebook started the social network fun. Although, more and more youngsters are moving from Facebook to Instagram. Now, we’re seeing more and more people using Instagram and Snapchat. I’m sure some of you reading this are saying, “What’s Snapchat?”

Here’s a good description of Snapchat for that aren’t familiar with it:

Using the application, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps”. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps (as of April 2014, the range is from 1 to 10 seconds),[6] after which they will be hidden from the recipient’s device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers.

In the Facebook world, Zuckerberg told us all that we should all use our full name and that we should share everything with the world and keep it as a kind of history of our life forever. That’s been a really popular model and has a lot of benefits. However, the popularity of Snapchat shows that there’s also a lot of value in something that has much more restrictive and temporary life.

To describe it more simply, people are getting more interested and sophisticated in their approach to privacy.

Today, I think it’s fair to say that we have the Facebook model for data. Any data we collect we need to keep and preserve forever. The idea of ever deleting data is a sin of the highest degree. There are a lot of reasons why this model is used in healthcare. However, I wonder if a hospital could benefit from a snapchat like platform that allows you to communicate across the organization without the eternal nature of that conversation being stored in the patient record forever.

I’m sure the privacy advocates will come out and say that it’s a terrible idea. Why would healthcare providers want to communicate something that doesn’t get documented in the chart. Plus, heaven forbid something be said that the patient doesn’t get to access and see. All of these concerns are overblown. I know they are, because these private conversations have been happening since the beginning of medicine. They just happen in the hallways or on a phone call instead of an online message.

Much like consumers, we need to get a lot more sophisticated in our approach to how we handle our communication and the privacy of that communication.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.