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New York TimesJohnson & Johnson "...looks like a plane spinning out of control." An ongoing case study in how to damage a trusted brand.

Also from the NYT: Warby Parker defies conventional wisdom to sell prescription eyeglasses online.  You shouldn't sell eyeglasses online.  Consumers won't buy.  Wait.  You are?  They are?  Whodathunk?!

Chicago Business: More hospitals posting ER wait times online.   I recommended this to my then-employer a decade ago.  The ER docs are probably still twitching.  Can somebody explain to me why it's horribly risky for a hospital to be years early, but OK to be years late?

CNN: WikiLeaks now promising to reveal Swiss banking secrets, including those of 40 politicians and "pillars of society."   Think everybody loves you?  Think again.  What secrets are at risk in your organization?  Is your approach based on locking-down information?  Or, at all times, do you act honestly and transparently, the better to remove a leaker's incentive to damage you? 

Comments

Jon said…
RE: Online ER Wait Times

Posting online wait times is misleading. All places I have seen doing this measure the time till you are seen by a triage nurse not the time till you are treated.

I am not sure posting online wait times does anything except turn people away who should be coming to the ER. (someone may feel they dont have the time to wait and hope the chest pain goes away)

IMO Online wait times is a marketing gimmick. Hospitals should be focusing money/effort on throughput, staff and the patient experience.
Steve Davis said…
Jon - thanks for reading and commenting. To me, the issue of posting wait times is a matter of health care showing the customer some long-overdue respect. We would never tolerate the airlines removing all those flight status boards from airports, would we? No. We appreciate the information and the opportunity to act accordingly and intelligently if our flight is delayed or canceled.

The fact is, many hospitals have much to hide when it comes to waiting times, and don't WANT consumers to know the facts until it's too late and too complicated to go elsewhere. And, frankly, if Hospital A's waiting time is long, maybe consumers SHOULD go to Hospital B if their wait time is shorter...another fact that Hospital A would rather not broadcast!

Of course a hospital posting waiting times is free to define the "wait" however they choose - time to triage, time to treatment, whatever. The airlines define "departure time" as the time the plane's door closes, not actual takeoff. And yet, somehow the flying public still appreciates the information.

Marketing gimmick? Maybe, but if a hospital follows your advice and focuses on throughput, wouldn't it be nice to report some real-world results as, presumably, waiting times improve?

And I doubt that posting wait times would cause a patient to delay or avoid treatment for chest pain. The general perception NOW is that ER wait times are horrendously long. If it's true that what gets reported gets improved, consumers might be pleasantly surprised to find wait times are SHORTER than expected, thus ENCOURAGING patients to seek care.

I was once told that posting wait times would just "create expectations." Ummm, well, yes! Hello!

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