Monday, January 13, 2014

Can you shame people out of using the ER as a walk-in clinic?

In a public healthcare system, one of the biggest drains on resources is the people who come to Emergency for problems that should be addressed by family doctors, clinics, or even telephone health advisors.

More urgently, the long wait-times that result can actually prevent the people who desperately need treatment from getting it in time. At least, that's what this PSA from the UK National Health Service in Suffolk wants you to know:

It's not exactly a subtle message. And if you read this blog (or my posts on Osocio) regularly, you know I'm not a fan of guilt and shame as social motivators.

I don't like the ad. But in this particular case, I think it could actually work. The difference is that the "ask" of this PSA is actually pretty simple: to call the NHS telephone health line first.

Who wouldn't prefer to avoid a trip to the ER waiting room, where non-emergency cases get triaged into several-hours-long waits among the sick and injured? I just wish that the message had been that, instead of using a dead child as worst case scenario.

Thanks to Bury Free Press (from my ancestral homeland, BTW) for the tip.

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