Most people don’t look forward to doctors’ visits. As kids, we dreaded the needles and the medicine. As adults, we dread the time off work, the commute to the doctor’s office, and worst of all, the wait. So it’s no surprise that modern healthcare consumers are eager to bypass all that. Accustomed to getting everything from banking services to entertainment on demand, they are ready to approach their healthcare in the same way.
According to a new study by business technology consultancy West Monroe Partners, entitled “No More Waiting Room: The Future of the Healthcare Customer Experience,” healthcare consumers want more ways to communicate with their doctors than traditional office visits or leaving phone messages. This desire for mobility may even affect their choice of providers, especially for younger, tech-savvy patients. In fact, 59 percent of all insured patients and 70 percent of millennials say they would choose a primary care provider who offered a mobile app over one who did not, according to a recent Harris Poll.
What does this mean for healthcare organizations, and what will it take to provide the digital customer experience that patients are increasingly expecting?
Steps to Building a Mobile Health Strategy
Healthcare IT has come a long way in recent years, and organizations large and small have begun to embrace electronic health records, remote patient monitoring, mobile workflows, video patient education, wearable medical devices and a host of other sophisticated technology that improves patient care and staff productivity. Yet, many care providers still haven’t embraced mobile communication with patients, or haven’t fully explored its potential.
For healthcare companies looking to improve the digital patient experience, here’s where to start:
1. Online portals: At the most basic level, healthcare consumers want increased digital access to their doctors’ offices. This includes the ability to send and receive messages, view medical records, schedule appointments, request prescription refills and handle other business that would typically require a phone call. According to West Monroe’s study, 86 percent of consumers who have access to online portals use them for some or all of their communication with care providers, and two-thirds of patients whose doctors don’t offer online portals wish they did.
2. Mobile apps: Creating an online portal is a great first step; the next step is to optimize that portal for mobile. Ninety-one percent of healthcare consumers say they would use mobile apps to access information from their doctors’ offices.