About the Storytelling Project

The Waiting Room Storytelling Project is a location-based social media and community engagement initiative that aims to improve the patient experience through the collection and sharing of digital content. This cultural data – video, data visualizations, photographs and text – is collected in the waiting room by creating frameworks for sharing that range from anonymous expressions of feeling to deeper storytelling.

The primary aim of the platform is to uncover the needs of underserved patients at a moment when the role of the “Safety Net” is being debated both in America and abroad. We also aim to develop tools for patients that allow them to take a more active role in their health care experience. To this end, we aim to expand and foster the organizational capacity for storytelling at Highland Hospital by creating a robust, scalable platform that can amplify the voices and needs of the most underserved communities in our country.

As America’s health care system sits poised to undergo its greatest transformation in generations, we will capture history unfolding and make sure that the story is told from the bottom up, not just the top down, using a unique combination of social media platforms and traditional documentary film. We will directly engage the people stuck in the waiting room of a county hospital: an underserved community that is isolated and disconnected from technology and the vital conversation that can improve their lives. The Waiting Room is comprised of five main components:

  1. A feature-length cinema verité documentary film that uses unprecedented access to go behind the doors of an American safety-net hospital fighting for survival while weathering the storm of a persistent economic downturn. Following both patients and caregivers, the film tells the story of a diverse patient population coping with a remarkable array of health problems, while caregivers struggle to treat problems that extend well beyond their patients’ health.
  2. A social web architecture that encourages sharing and is designed for an interactive and social user experience. Project staff and volunteers will collect cultural data – photos, audio, videos, texts and emotions – using location based digital tools. Content will be tagged #whatruwaitingfor and uploaded to The Waiting Room’s multiple social media platforms.
  3. A mobile application that will allow users inside and outside of the physical waiting room to browse, share and comment inline on content tagged #whatruwaitingfor.
  4. A self-sustaining interactive platform placed in the waiting room at Highland Hospital that will allow for the capture of user-generated content. This initiative will serve not only as a cultural data collection platform, but will encourage the use of technology by a community that is most disenfranchised by this nation’s digital divide. The platform will have a pilot location at Highland Hospital – but will also spin off a mobile version that can be replicated and used at remote clinics, community events and hospitals around the country.
  5. The Waiting Room website is a politically independent, hyper-local media portal that serves as a designed aggregator of our project data and a space built for user engagement. It will serve as a hub for our content: one stop on our web of inter- connectivity between points on the social web and the mobile space.

This content will be delivered across a variety of platforms including television, radio, public spaces and the internet, giving hospitals, policy makers, journalists and the general public a greater understanding of the evolving relationship between public policy and people’s lives.