I apologize for my strong and passionate reaction to the new Medseek facebook page. In case you missed Phil Baumann’s or Eileen O’Brien’s excellent posts on this matter: Sara Baker is a fake mother created by Medseek to market their new “epatient” IT solution. In her facebook profile fake Sara talks about her life with her fake baby twins, about her fake doctor appointments, the complicated fake paperwork involved …oh and how she fakily goes online to search for health information.
I ought to write this post about how ineffective, unethical and dangerous of a marketing technique it is to present fake images of someone pretending to be something they are not. I ought to take a cold analytical approach to yet another strange and twisted mishap of a company clumsily trying to create itself a presence in social media… but not this time.
This time, I am ticked off personally, because I consider myself a real facebook mom. My facebook page is my safe harbor where I update family and friends about my baby daughter’s funny first words, share pictures of her covered in purple jam… and yes, speak about her health, at times, when she is sick. Facebook, well at least before the recent privacy scandals, was my personal island.
I know the Medseek campaign is not invading this island. I have the choice to ignore fake Sara and her fake problems. However, I cannot help for her to feel like a parody of my life as a mother and empowered health care consumer.
Here are some of the issues I have with fake Sara:
Fake Sara supposedly represents epatients. Why? Because she is a mother? When did having kids (fake or real ones) become a disease?
If fake Sara is supposed to mirror my real health concerns. Why does she talk about how EASY it is to pay her bills electronically, when in fact my real concern might be how to pay my bills at all?
Fake Sara invites me to share my real story on her facebook page with “them”…but I do not know who “they” are? And if I do share a heart breaking story with fake Sara, will she cry fake tears or show me her fake support?
I dedicate this blog to what health care companies ought to do to increase their patient-focus. I passionately believe patient-focus starts with getting real. We need to clean the corporate marketing machine of sleezy spam (hat tip to Andrew and John on this expression , we need to listen to real patients’ concerns. We need to introduce real human voices and real emotions into the conversation.
Social media poses incredibly difficult challenges to health care companies: How to engage as human beings on a personal level, yet be a large corporation? How to demonstrate true commitment to patients, yet stay within ethical and legal boundaries ? How to be empathic, warm and caring towards patients yet commercially driven?
Before I stop my rant, let me point you to Andrew Spong’s intriguing poll and ask you to please vote. Also, please share your thoughts and comments on this post with me: How you feel about fake Sara? Do you think I am over reacting? Am I missing an important angle?
Dear Medseek, it is already so difficult to be real in a credible and trustworthy way in social media, please, don’t even try to fake it!
I would like to herewith warmly invite you to join us at one of our weekly hcsmeu tweetups to explain your views and discuss your motivations with us.