Long-Term Hyperconnectivity

At a recent editorial meeting, our staff engaged in a rousing—and somewhat mystifying—discussion on an eccentric term: “wiki-fy.” This is cut-and-paste Internet-speak that translates into giving our Web site’s audience the ability to add their own content, thereby creating an environment where readers and staff glean insights from each other.

Everyone benefits from the Internet’s rapidly shared information, seemingly limitless storage, and consistently growing connectivity. And when all three of these perks combine—wow, what a deal.

Well, not exactly for some LTC providers.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately—and I hope you do—you would have noticed the beginning of what seems to be a rising trend in the number of Web sites that are popping up allowing anyone to rate an LTC facility.

First there was CMS launching its Nursing Home Compare Web site that includes a searchable database, even lumping the rankings of some nursing homes into a bottom pool of 10% and 5% that just screams “public beware of (certain) long-term care.” An addendum to that site has been the controversial Five-Star Rating System that will further serve to demarcate which facilities people would do best to avoid.

Next is WhereToFindCare.com with its own one-to-five rating scale, except these grades aren’t given by surveyors; now patients have the ability to rate you. And when I say patients, I mean anyone who visits the Web site can add their grades, comments, and nominations of caregivers to more than 52,000 healthcare facilities (long-term care, assisted living, hospitals, etc.) in the United States.

Then there’s the debut of CareLookUp.com, a massive database of 115,000 facilities. Although it doesn’t offer the ability to give ratings, it does present the public more of a research avenue than ever before to discover—and cross reference—pretty much any LTC facility in the country.

As the title to this blog suggests, our hyperconnectivity is long-term. These Web sites can only grow from now until the end of the Internet. So here’s my question: Does the “wiki-fying” of this all important information pose a threat to your long-term viability?

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