No doubt, people are interested in managing their health. By meeting patients in the right places at the right time with the right information, hospitals can help guide patients along that journey and emerge as the leading choice for those patients.
However, it is not enough to think about the digital patient journey without recognizing the dramatic shift in where that journey takes place. With the rise of mobile activity and the possibilities from wearable devices and other healthcare technologies, the digital patient journey has truly become a MOBILE journey. In a recent blog post, we complied some of the most important healthcare stats of 2015 and here are a few that highlight the shift to mobile:
- 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition. (Source: Pew Research Center)
- 6% of Americans are willing to use mobile apps to manage their health. (Source: Makovsky/Kelton)
- 79% of Americans are willing to use a wearable device to manage their health. (Source: Makovsky/Kelton)
- 64% of Americans would be willing to have a video visit with a doctor. (Source: American Well)
The mobile experience patients experience is no longer just an “add-on” piece to help drive patient satisfaction – it is one of the essential pieces to the equation. Mobile is no longer the “second screen.” Now is the time for healthcare organizations to adopt a mobile-first attitude. So what does this experience entail?
The mobile experience starts with a great mobile website. In fact, hospitals should think mobile-first when designing their website as mobile-friendliness will significantly affect your site’s rankings. However, while this is an important first step, to truly implement a mobile mindset, hospital marketers have to understand that the mobile experience is an ecosystem of elements including websites, apps, patient portals, telemedicine, electronic health records (EHR), remote monitoring technology, medication management technology, wearable devices, and more.
An effective marketing strategy to maximize patient engagement across the mobile journey has to account for this entire ecosystem. A hospital’s brand equity will be partly dependent on how well this ecosystem is created and implemented for patients. Think about the possible connections in this ecosystem. Here is one scenario:
- A wearable device connects to a phone
- The phone connects to a hospital website
- The website can redirect someone to a patient portal
- The patient portal can include a feature to alert you when medication is due
- The alert can connect you to instructions on how to take that medication with potential side effects listed
- Those instructions can include a link to have a video call with a nurse to consult with
- The nurse can email you a recap of the video call which can be pulled up right on a mobile device
- Finally, that email can include a link to schedule an in-person appointment should further symptoms arise or the condition not be healed by the medication.
Just think about the possibilities – they are endless! Mobile engagement represents a seismic shift in the healthcare industry and simply cannot be ignored. Hospital marketers must deploy robust strategies around their mobile ecosystem as an essential piece of their overall marketing objectives if they want to continue to drive patient satisfaction and maintain brand reputation.
What You Can Do
So how can hospitals get started? Start with a great mobile website, understand the connections across the mobile ecosystem and how they relate to the digital patient journey, and start cultivating effective strategies that serve as foundational pieces to overall marketing initiatives. Because the experience patients have in your mobile ecosystem as they progress along the digital journey will determine their satisfaction, willingness to engage, and overall success of the hospital logo representing it all.
Don’t wait any longer, the mobile revolution is upon us – think mobile first and create this new experience to engage patients. The new mobile digital journey includes two roads: the one where the hospital becomes the leader in their space, or the one where the hospital dissolves into the past.
Which road do you want to take?