Posted by:Shyam Deval January 13th, 2016

mHealth has been much talked about and much hyped for many years now. At least in theory, most healthcare providers consider mobile engagement as an integral part of their patient engagement strategy.

Given the rapid increase in use of smartphone usage across all the demographics, it is then not surprising to find out that according to 2014 FICO global survey, more than half (54%) of health consumers want more interactions with their healthcare providers using mobile apps and other mobile functionality.

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But according to a recent survey from Accenture on use of mobile apps for patient engagement, healthcare providers have engaged only about 2% of their patients fully using the mobile apps.  And this in spite of the fact that according to the same research 66 percent of the 100 largest US hospitals have at least one mobile app for their patients. While surprising, these numbers are not entirely shocking.As we have seen time and again, this disparity is a direct result of these apps not meeting patient’s usability and functionality expectations.So what are some of these expectations?

  • Patients want the healthcare apps to at least closely mirror the intuitive and engaging user experience that apps from other industries (think AirBnb, Uber, Flipboard) provide
  • They want the apps to enable them to provide logistical functionality such as setting up and canceling appointment, refilling medication, medication and appointment reminders
  • They want the apps to act as access points to their health data – whether it’s data from EMR systems or from wearables and other IoT devices
  • They want the providers to inform and educate them as well as listen and talk to them. They want to be empowered to participate not only in their care but also in prevention of future issues
  • And lastly but very importantly the expectation is to get the same level of digital customer experience that the patients get from other service industries
Healthcare providers face a real danger of losing patients to competition who are unhappy with customer experience – digital engagement being a critical part of the experience.So what steps can the providers take in short and long term to improve patient engagement and have an engaged, satisfied and healthy patient population? I will touch upon some of these ideas in my blog next week.

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