New social media site invites public health care users to review services they receive

As an adjunct professor at Simmons College's Department of Health Care Administration, I received a press release (the first paragraph of which appears below) with a request to spread the word.  I should also disclose that I know a couple of the donors involved through a separate relationship, and have known about this project since its inception.

Press release lead paragraph

"Simmons College's Department of Health Care Administration launched a new website that will gauge the experiences of Boston-area healthcare users who have their services paid for by public programs. USisUS.net, which stands for the United States is Us, aims to reach out to minority populations and healthcare users who receive aid through programs such as Medicaid, VA, Commonwealth Care and others.  Users of the site can review these comments and ratings about particular health care providers."

The many faces of Barbara Bix, Managing Principal, BB Marketing Plus

This post discusses my observations from several perspectives including that of a health care marketing consultant, a social media marketing consultant, a user of services, a citizen, and a taxpayer.  So, please join me now as I switch hats and weigh in from each of these roles.

Health care marketing consultant

The topic was also of particular interest to me as a health care marketing consultant.  There's a lot of debate about what constitutes health care quality.  It's hard to measure since we're not widgets.  Each of us comes to our health through a unique combination of genes and behavior--and at different stages of wellness/illness--before health care providers even begin administering care.  For another, most of us don't have the medical knowledge to assess the relative quality of our treatment regimes or outcomes.

Nevertheless, user perspectives are important; and health care providers have begun to seek them out over the last decade or so.  For one, we're the only ones who know how we feel.  For another, we are qualified to rate some of the more visible aspects of our care--as well as our overall experience during the care process.

User of services

I see this site as a "Yelp" for government services.  The interesting twist is that citizen reviewers are not only users of the services and prospective users of the services, but also citizens who pay for the services--whether they ultimately use them or not.

As soon as I heard about this concept, my first reaction was, "We need this for our town".  As a user, I think it's a great way to hear from trusted citizens about new services of which I might otherwise have not been aware--as well as to get recommendations for which services to use when I have a choice.

Taxpayer

As a taxpayer, I'd find it useful to have information that helps me evaluate our programs and help me determine for which enhancements to advocate.  Today, I read about controversial decisions in the local newspaper and wish I could get a better understanding of the pros and cons from the people these decisions will most affect.  I also love the idea that administrators of those programs have a way to get specific actionable feedback on services without extra effort.

Social media marketing consultant

One of the best ways to develop superior offerings is to collaborate with clients, and prospective clients, to design and then improve the services you deliver.  A frequent "unintended consequence" is that users then feel more engaged and more involved, just because someone sought their feedback.  This engagement often leads to even greater satisfaction.

The magic of social media is that you can so easily, and inexpensively, reach so many of the people you aim to serve, get instant feedback, and have a forum where they can work as a group to refine that feedback.  This aspect is often referred to as the "wisdom of the crowd".

Bias

Yes, there will be bias.  You're most likely only to hear from those who are "high responders", extremely satisfied, or extremely dissatisfied.  The hope is that, as with many other social media, "the crowd" keeps the conversation centered and useful.  I know that when I'm the user, I look to the crowd for overall sentiment, and to individual reviewers' comments only for the details that they will bring to my attention.

Your perspectives, please

What's your take?  Have you used any programs that evaluate public services?  If so, what value have you derived?  What reservations do you have?  What feedback do you have for USisus.net as they start to spread the word?

This post originally appeared on the

BB Marketing Plus blog

This blog

by Barbara Bix - In tough economic times, more and more clients are looking to their accountants to help them improve the bottom line. Often, the best way to do that is to start with the top line-since one can only decrease expenses so far. This blog discusses concrete actions you and your business-to-business clients can use to accelerate revenues.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

48709

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

82007

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

53882

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

97425
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
24575

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

61275

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

87114

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

28505

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

70043

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

38224
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
110179
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
29995

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

58256
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
32004
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
36634

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

109050

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

37891

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

120223

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

67434

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

43690
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
71425

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

98404

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

58965