When it comes to the craze surrounding the summer’s hottest mobile app, Pokémon Go, one thing’s for sure: it’s captured (ha) people from every demographic. Young and old, long-time fans and new, are all loving the experience of seeking out these adorable animé creatures.
Chances are, if you enjoy an office with a window, you’ll see members of your community – heads buried in their smartphones – out and about, tracking these colorful cartoons through neighborhoods, downtown districts or even your hospital’s campus.
What is Pokémon Go?
If you somehow managed to miss the near-constant headlines and social media posts, Pokémon Go is a free mobile game that plots the fictional pocket monsters throughout real communities, meaning a player uses smartphone GPS technology to navigate an augmented reality map to track (and trap) the creatures. Think geocaching meets bug collecting.
The good news is: it’s inspiring a lot of outdoor activity for families, many who meet in parks in their communities to go on Pokémon hunts. You might be wondering, “How can we, as a hospital or health system, use this as a chance to connect with our community?” Well, here are just a few ideas:
Host a Lure Party
The Pokémon Go app gives players a chance to “set a lure” in the game, which attracts the Pokémon and, in turn, attracts more users to the area who are also hoping to capture more Pokémon creatures.
Users on the popular website Reddit put out a call to Pokémon Go fans, suggesting users spend their “lures” at children’s hospitals, where plenty of kids who can’t easily get outdoors to play can still enjoy the app.
If your hospitals have courtyards, playgrounds or other family-friendly outdoor areas, consider hosting a “Lure Party” to allow families and children to safely play the game with members of your staff. Choose a date, spread the word and to make it a real party – consider serving snacks and refreshments!
Sponsor a Poké-hunt
If you have a building or medical center near a family-friendly part of town (away from busy streets or highways is best), sponsor a Poké-hunt, with Pokémon Go users starting and ending their hunt at your location.
By advertising the date and time on social media, email or even posters around your facility, you’ll inspire plenty of players – young and old, families and singles – to get familiar with your brand. Provide treats and juice for an “after party” where players can connect and build friendships.
Protect Your Hospital from Pokémon Hunters
While many Pokémon don’t end up indoors, it is possible users may wander into your hospital lobby or emergency department during their hunt. If this becomes a problem, consider adding posters to the front doors of your facilities, alerting users that Pokémon Go is not allowed in the hospital, on patient floors or in other sensitive locations.
…And Just Have Fun!
If you haven’t jumped on the Pokémon Go train yourself or with your family or kids, give it a try. It’s a great way to get exercise, explore your community and connect with local businesses. But stay safe out there! And as with all technology, don’t be afraid to put it away and enjoy a truly wonderful adventure outdoors.