Some new stats came out recently about how healthcare consumers use mobile health apps and navigate the Web for health-related information. Both sets of numbers are telling in how they illustrate consumer tendencies toward using technology and the specific kinds of websites they go to for tracking and finding health information.
Consumer Preferences in Mobile Health Apps
First, let’s look at mobile: A new Ruder Finn “mHealth Report” (PDF) shows 49% of U.S. consumers who use mobile health apps say they use one for healthy eating. This is followed by:
- 48% for fitness and training
- 41% for general health information
- 13% for managing chronic conditions
- 9% for medication reminders
Physicians generally support the idea of patients using self-tracking to collect and share data. Consider the branding benefits of offering apps that allow patients to self-track health information, to say nothing of the actual patient benefits in terms of improved health outcomes (which nearly 75% of surveyed physicians suggested were possible—Manhattan Research, “Taking the Pulse® U.S.“).
Health-Related Web Sources
Having established how U.S. consumers use mobile health apps, let’s look more broadly at how they use the Web for researching health information. A recent GlaxoSmithKline survey conducted for The Atlantic showed that U.S. residents who use the Web for finding health information have visited:
- WebMD (59%)
- Google (22%)
- Mayo Clinic (17%)
- health insurer’s website (12%)
- NIH website (8%)
Notice Google is high on this list, and other studies indicate Google searches for health info are even more popular. When prospective patients go to Google, are they finding you? In researching symptoms and conditions, is your website ever available as an authority? If your organization specializes in particular medical conditions/procedures, is this topical information available in the search results alongside (or within) WebMD?
Finally, another stat worth mentioning is the 100 leaders of what Becker’s Hospital Review called the “great hospitals in America.” These leaders have been singled out for vision and pursuit of the organizational mission.
One way the hospitals these leaders govern earn these honors—and maintain them—is by running a tight marketing ship. Being proactive in marketing means staying ahead of competitors by examining all the ways hospitals and health systems can generate new patients, keep existing patients and track the return on marketing dollars. Actively fostering patient engagement and reach also means adopting systems and strategies for broadening community awareness and nurturing patients in a cost-effective way (e.g., by managing revenue performance via marketing automation).
Check out Fathom’s white paper on social media in the top 15 health systems.
Photo courtesy of Kaleb Ball via Flickr.