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Jennifer Highland

Health care providers need to adopt mHealth technology to keep up with patients’ expectations

A new survey by Accenture revealed that 54% of consumers would like to use their smartphones more to interact with healthcare providers. Unfortunately, most healthcare providers have failed to adapt to their patients’ needs. Consumers complain that most apps offer a poor user experience, and they fail to meet their needs.

As digital patient engagement becomes the norm and consumers become unhappy with their care providers’ lack of mobile services, they may look for alternatives. Care providers need to meet consumer expectations by adopting mobile technology and improving the overall user experience.

The Accenture survey identified that although 66% of the largest 100 US hospitals have mobile apps for consumers, less than 40% of that subset have developed their own.

Unfortunately, merely having a mobile app is not enough. Often, healthcare providers fail to engage consumers with these apps due to poor functionality and poor user experience. The survey revealed that hospitals are engaging successfully with just 2% of patients!

Patient-centred apps published by disruptive innovators are gaining traction in the market by fulfilling the users’ demand. These disruptor apps are focusing on functionality and user experience in line with the patients’ needs.


Technology slackers pay the price

The Accenture shows that around 7% percent of patients have switched healthcare providers due to poor customer experience. This is the same level of customer dissatisfaction as seen with hotels and telephone service providers, and according to Accenture, these losses represent over $100 million in annual revenue per hospital.

As consumers bring their service expectations from other industries into healthcare, care providers are likely to see higher switching rates, on par with the mobile phone industry, cable TV providers, or even retail.

Nevertheless, the rewards are clear for those who get it right. According to a survey by RBC Capital Markets, between 55% and 69% of users who use online health tools reported increased satisfaction.

Today’s consumers expect to interact with their care providers digitally, and most of them are being let down. As a result, in the increasingly competitive healthcare market, providers that ignore mHealth technology today could lose valuable customers to the competitors who adopt this technology.


Partnering up with technology innovators

Inpatient experience and mobile engagement are both part of the holistic patient experience that can lead to customer retention or switching.

MHealth technology can help care providers succeed in an era of individualized healthcare, where patients are empowered to help manage their own care. To improve customer satisfaction, care providers should create a better user experience tailored to the functionality demanded by patients. Care providers should partner with technology companies presenting innovative solutions to create a mobile platform that is tailored to their specific patient needs. For example, partner with ZocDoc for appointment scheduling, InstaMed Go for bill payments or Monsenso to support the treatment of mental illnesses.

Reference:
Losing patience: Why hospitals must revive their digital health strategies.
https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-health-losing-patience.aspx