Isn’t it a shame? When we started using the internet, it seemed like an information utopia. Everything was free and open; we could find whatever we wanted with a touch. And it was only supposed to get better. Remember that? But then it changed.
Search Engines seemed to make the whole process easier, but there was a switcheroo happening that we didn’t see til it was too late: we thought we were the customer, but in fact we were the product.
We are the Product
Whether it’s clicks, views or our data that are being sold, marketers are buying access to us as viewers and consumers. And this has distorted the search process so badly that we often can’t find what we’re looking for at all. Most of the time, that’s just annoying. But when we’re in the midst of something important - when lives are at stake - it’s a catastrophe.
Search Engines and the Treatment Industry
Our industry has been one of the most badly impacted by this trend. At a time when addiction treatment is reaching new levels of effectiveness, when the science of addiction is making breakthroughs every day, what’s on the news? Scandals about shady client brokers and illegitimate treatment scams. The salesmen are overshadowing the scientists, and they’re ruining our reputation.
That’s embarrassing, but it’s not even the worst of it. Because these call centers and for-profit clearinghouses make their money by either selling leads or “putting heads in beds,” clients with funding are directed to the treatment center with the best commission deal - not the most appropriate treatment modality for their needs. And clients who are uninsured, underinsured or on government insurance? Forget about it. They get dismissed without any help at all.
When clients and clinicians are sold as “leads” they get peppered with sales calls from centers that may or may not be appropriate for them. These calls burn credibility as they burn time. What clinician can make time or space for all those calls? And what addict or family member won’t feel like they’re about to be taken advantage of? They may not even be wrong.
From the perspective of treatment professionals the frustration is different, but at least as great. Clinical Directors build their careers and stake their reputations on particular treatment modalities, specialties and practices that distinguish their model. They spend their careers researching best practices, training staff and creating an environment that supports a carefully crafted treatment model. But when that treatment center gets funneled through a call center, the client doesn’t hear much or anything about that model - nor are clients screened as to what treatment model might optimize their experience. The client and rehab are matched based on insurance and timing, period.
Consider your treatment center’s marketing plan. How much time, energy and money has your center invested in branding? How much have you devoted to developing a mission and vision that drive and explain the particular work you do? And how much of the time does a client or clinician who finds you through one of these web clearinghouses learn about any of that? All that marketing and visioning work is meaningless if it’s not reaching the people it’s intended to educate. And how can it? Some operator in a call center is forwarding your number to a guy because you’re in-network for his insurance. That’s not marketing, that’s hustling.
What Is the Solution?
It seems almost tragic to say it, but at this point in our history, it’s time to get off the internet. We don’t need an optimized search; we need an app for that. And that’s the story of Get Help®.
As clinicians in private practice, we were so frustrated with the available options that we realized we had to invent something entirely new. The Get Help® app offers treatment centers, clinicians, interventionists and detox facilities a new way to reach out to clients, where you get to shape and control your message. It offers clients a new way to find treatment, where they control the search and filters to find results best suited to their needs. We think of this as “democratizing the data” - taking out the search optimizers and ad filters that render internet searches overwhelming and futile, and replacing all that with an easy interface that allows clients and providers to communicate directly. There is no middleman.
We’re not another variation on the not-quite-brokering racket that’s destroying our industry. We want that gone, and we understand the only way to make it go away is to provide something better. Our revenue source isn’t selling leads or making connections for you. We may offer premium subscriptions for treatment providers that allow more information, more graphics, fuller data management. We’re not selling clients, we’re selling knowledge management. We believe that when treatment providers are able to offer a complete picture of their services, when clients and clinicians can find and filter information efficiently, and when communication is unmediated by commissioned middlemen, that everyone wins.
We want a revolution. And we’re building it. Won’t you join us?
As an early adopter of Get Help®, you don’t just get access to our rapidly growing client base - you get to be part of the creative process building this process and creating the Get Help® ecosystem. Because that’s what we’re building -not just a simple search app, but an ethics-forward, client-centered network of providers who are collaborating on turning our industry on its head. Or more accurately, putting it back on its feet.
We’re all at our wit’s end trying to deal with the dysfunction that’s taking over our industry. It’s embarrassing, it’s expensive and it’s endangering people who should be in treatment but can’t find their way to a safe option that works for them. And frankly, after lots of trial and error, we learned that it’s a waste of time trying to re-optimize the optimized search engines. It’s time to do something entirely different. Let’s build it together.
We’re ready to get back to what matters to us, what got us into this field to begin with - helping clients change their lives. We want that to be our priority, not our relationship to a search engine. We want clients and clinicians to know more about us than what insurance we accept -we want the programs we design and build, the treatment modalities we believe in and work so hard to optimize - to speak for themselves, clearly and directly, to the people who most need to hear about us.
We want a world in which diverse treatment options can share an ethical consensus, an information base, and an opportunity to reach clients without breaking the bank or compromising our integrity. So we’re building it. Get off the internet. Walk away. It’s time to do something different.
Download the Get Help app, check out our website, or be in touch with us directly to find out more about how we work, what we do, and our vision for transforming addiction treatment by changing what happens on the front lines - when a client or clinician first reaches out to Get Help. Our free search tool is the easiest way for anyone, anywhere to find addiction treatment fast. You can download our app on iTunes, go to www.GetHelp.com, or call us at (323) GET-HELP.