Emory Healthcare: Twitter as 9-1-1
At 11:06 a.m. on April 25th, Matthew Browning sent a tweet to Emory Healthcare: "@emoryhealthcare NEED HELP NOW!! Grandma w/ RUPTURED AORTA needs Card Surgeon/OR ASAP, STAT! can you accept LifeFlight NOW!!?"
Browning's grandmother was critically ill and in an area of rural south Georgia, far from the care she needed immediately. Local hospitals were not equipped to handle a patient with her complex needs, and Browning turned to social media to send out his distress call.
"While much of our social media is proactive and conversational, when we receive a tweet like Matthew's, everything changes. We must immediately throw out the process flowcharts, remove all barriers, and act," says Morgan Griffith, Emory Healthcare social media specialist on Emory's blog. "Instantaneously, things shift into high gear and a number of contacts in a variety of departments are contacted to get the right information as quickly as possible."
Browning's tweet has opened the idea of patients using Twitter as the new 9-1-1. Emory Healthcare responded back with the Tweet: "@MatthewBrowning Matthew, please either call 911 or have your grandma's doctor call our transfer service to get immediate help: 404-686-8334"
Browning's situation allowed Emory to question its existing policy and open the discussion of the effectiveness of their response. Before the incident Emory's social media policy was the following:
1) Evaluate a need for response
3) Continue dialog offline
4) Identify common complaints