Do patients really value mobile technology? The short answer: yes. Your patients, who are consumers in their everyday lives, value the anywhere, anytime philosophy that is created with mobile technologies.
Unfortunately, the healthcare industry has been slow to deliver. What is the lack of technological preparedness costing providers?
Healthcare consumers value the transparency and convenience that technology can provide them. They want the same level of accessibility from their healthcare experience that they get from shopping their favorite retailers’ mobile app. And if they can quickly browse and make purchases from Amazon and eBay right from their smartphone, why shouldn’t they be able to access their health records, get an estimation of benefits, and make payments just as easily?
That’s the question healthcare leaders try to answer when they look at innovations in patient-friendly healthcare technology. The question that worries providers most is not how to implement consumer-facing technology, rather they ask, “Will it work?” A skepticism still exists among healthcare providers that aren’t fully sold on the idea of patient technology platforms.
It’s time to put the skepticism to rest and look instead at all the ways that patient-facing technology is already working, and will continue to work.
1. We live in an always-on culture.
You don’t need to look at the graphic here to know that our culture as a whole is always connected. Simply look around you and count how many people are on their smartphone right now. From Millennials to Baby Boomers, the ability to access information from anywhere, at anytime, is valuable. What’s more surprising though, as we look at the graphic below, is that in the past 2-3 years, the percentage of consumers with at least one health-related app on their smartphone has doubled. This is a clear sign of the times. Your patients are more engaged in their health than you might think.
2. Millennials' two best friends are convenience and transparency.
It’s not just Millennials that value convenience and transparency in the consumer aspects of their life. But with Millennials continuing to enter the workforce and become more involved in their own financial decisions, their values are worth highlighting.
Everything from ordering a pizza to paying your car insurance can be done from your smartphone. Major retailers and consumer brands have mobile applications and social media accounts that make it easier than ever for consumers to reach them.
Take a look at the graphic below from PricewaterhouseCooper. It shows the percentage of consumers who would use a service that helped them plan for medical expenses, with an overwhelming 56% ages 18-34. What does this tell us? Millennials truly value convenience and transparency. Budgeting for any type of expenses is tough, especially for younger generations who are new to the financial management game. So providers who provide the tools and services that allow transparency into the healthcare financial conversation will win with their consumers.
Transparent and convenient financial management tools could include:
- Patient check-in technology that allows patients self-service capabilities to check-in for their appointments.
- Patient eligibility verification and cost estimation tools that allow insights into what a healthcare visit might cost.
- Convenient, mobile payment options that allow patients to pay bills at any time, from any device.
3. Education is everywhere, and it’s free.
We’re not talking Bernie Sanders free, but there is a wealth of knowledge in every subject matter that exists online and is available right at our fingertips. This availability gives healthcare providers a new role as educators, continually advising patients on the best course of action, both in their health and their management of healthcare finances.
To stand out from competitors and make the most of patient-facing technology, you should strive to be a proactive educator for your patients. They truly value the ability to access information at any time, from anywhere, and will applaud the transparency and convenience afforded by your tech solution. This may come in the form of a mobile application that is specifically designed for your healthcare organization, or in the adoption of a platform that has already been established and used in organizations to engage their patients.
For these reasons and more, 2016 is looking bright for healthcare technology use, especially when it comes to patient-facing technology. Healthcare providers will continue to understand the impact that can be made with tools that designed to bring convenience and transparency to the healthcare experience.
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