Today, we live in an ever-evolving digital world, from the need for highly enriched digital experiences to the ever-increasing foothold of mobile. Every aspect of our lives connects us digitally, in some way or another. The healthcare industry is no different, as we enter a crucial shift where patient experience meets digital expectations, pushing mobile health at the forefront of the decision-making process.
For those in the healthcare industry looking to gain an edge and to be better positioned to empower the needs of today’s digitally empowered consumers, the need to embrace the digital revolution is more important than ever.
The main catalyst for the shift is the development and sophisticated evolution of the Smartphone, its ease of using mobile applications and internet services any place you want, and its strong relationship with the new generation of Millennials. As of 2013, seventy-five million Millennials represented a full third of the U.S. population. As the most diverse and educated generation yet, this generation of 18-34-year-olds is characterized by being connected to social media and having a strong influence on the future of their country—including the healthcare system. This new breed of consumer demands innovative healthcare shaped by information and technology, creating a patient-focused, valuable user experience.
The State of the Connected Patient 2015, commissioned by Cloud Computing global brand Salesforce, surveyed more than 1,700 Americans who have health insurance and a primary care doctor to look at how patients are currently connecting with their providers, as well as their technology requests for the future. The report found Millennials prefer to engage with their providers through modern technology, pressurizing healthcare providers to digitalize healthcare industry, by embedding more social, mobile, and cloud technologies in their day-to-day interactions with patients.
According to ABI Research, global sales of smartphones are expected to hit 1.5 billion units this year, quadrupling the market for mobile health apps to $400 million.
As the demand for mobile increases, the need for mobile friendly sites also continues to increase. Earlier last year, Google announced imminent changes to its algorithm which would begin using mobile-friendly sites as a ranking signal. This means that if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will decrease in search engine rankings losing you potential patients who carry out an online search before visiting a physician. Putting this into context, according to Google Think, prior to booking a doctor’s appointment 77% of patients used search engines, 83% used hospital websites, 54% used health insurance company websites, 50% used health information websites, and 26% used consumer-generated reviews.
In addition to this, since the Health Care Reform Act, more than 16 million Americans have gained health insurance under Obamacare. This influx of entrants into the healthcare system is accompanied by a shift in healthcare-related internet searches.
With an expectation of mobile interaction based on context and need, according to Forrester – 2014, you can serve customers in their mobile moments if you undertake a new business discipline called the IDEA cycle—identify mobile moments; design the mobile engagement; engineer your platforms, processes, and people for mobile; and analyze results to monitor performance and improve outcomes.
To meet the needs of today’s digitally empowered consumers, the healthcare industry needs to embrace this changing landscape of healthcare to gain an edge in the fast-evolving mobile healthcare industry.