,,Like everybody else, when I don’t know what else to do, I seem to go in for catching colds.” – George Jean Nathan
A diagnostic of why healthcare cannot afford to lag behind new tech developments in the mobile industry sector and how can they drastically improve their business approaches.
First of all the healthcare mobile app sector is slowly staggering from an untamed land towards the realization that you can’t just put out new products that increase the quality of life using conventional means like poster-advertising or tv adds. Why staggering? Why not conventional?
The latter can easily be explained by the old saying ,,location, location, location”. People have health related problems everywhere, anytime, and you cannot rely on the fact that they may find a solution because they happened to walk through an underpass.
The former reason is given by a Mediapost audit in 2011 , showing that only 19% of pharma sites are mobile optimized and customer friendly. Though the situation has slightly remedied in 2012, it mostly remains the same , leaving a big blank space that could be filled with a formula many companies aspire to : improving the overall quality of life and increasing profits.
Two concepts that aren’t necessarily inclusive but mobile health apps make a good case why.
Let’s see what healthcare can gain through an efficient strategic approach towards mobile apps:
#1 Engaging in real time with customers and maintaining visibility
#2 Digital healthcare increases ROI
#3 Offers customers/patients reliability in learning about specific drugs and conditions
#4 Mobile apps aren’t here just for the view
#5 Consolidates info exchange between hospitals/clinical trials/pharmaceutical products/customer/patients
Before we move on and expand each of them let’s see on what platforms mobile health apps are primarily distributed. Why suddenly break this train of description? Simple.
A lot of doctors and people or patients use two primary mobile platforms. This is important because you have to know where to target your mobile apps and especially where your healthcare app may be most effective and thus help people.
2011 Information Week study
As you can see, most mobile health apps are on IPhone and Android. They are the two leading players in term of both marketshare and mindshare. The situation has changed only slightly in 2012 but they still remain the two kings in this chess game. Now going back to the whys and sighs.
- Engaging in real time with customers and maintaining visibility - This is one of the tough ones.
Let’s say you’re a cafe. Do you want people to say ,,-Well yeah, I’ve went to that place once, had a cup of coffee and went about my day. Twas a one time deal, I was in a hurry.” Most products and companies today face the same dilemma. It’s not so much about attention span but more of the fact that you’re like a book and you’re only selling a page at a time and most of all , a different page to different people.
In maintaining real time contact with doctors/customers/patients/pharmacists you’re creating a connection.
A connection that goes a little deeper than standing in line in a pharmacy and inhaling the oh-so-wistful-perfume of disinfectant. By providing the latest news and developments about clinical trials, new products, therapies, drug reference updates, prescriptions and so on, you let your customers feel more engaged about their own health rather than just carrying a piece of paper signed by an M.D. to a pharmacy.
You not only allow them to educate themselves but you provide product eye-contact with your customers. You let them find out how they can better their lives or treat their conditions. Especially through push-notifications you can instantly convey specific info about medical alerts and keep your customers engaged with your offers.
You’re not just selling a one time coffee but you’re sending a clear message. ,,-Hey, remember us? Yeah you bought a coffee and sat near that mysterious woman reading Baudelaire. Well , we now have a better coffee, larger and tastier for the same price. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. The answer is no. She hasn’t finished the book.”
- Digital healthcare increases ROI.
The social media revolution and the changed media landscape calls for different approaches towards mobile behaviour. The classic outbound marketing techniques are less effective because more and more people have mobile phones. Outbound marketing relies mostly on hoping to catch people’s attention (often by interrupting their activities) to buy their product.
Inbound marketing, which is another way of offering people and companies the chance to educate themselves about a product and the environment in which it lives changes things drastically.
For one, instead of shouting your own brand from the top of your lungs until someone hears you isn’t the same as creating an engaging experience where the customer chooses to find out more, and as such he becomes a visitor and a potential customer.
It is a much more targeted way to improve your income because you establish a higher brand awareness as a result of the fact that you are on their mobile phones, you are near them and not on some billboard obscuring the view from a park.
It highly increases revenues because you are taking into consideration people who can find out more about what you are offering through a few clicks and keeping them up to date with what they need and how you can improve their lives.
- Offers customers/patients reliability in learning about specific drugs and conditions.
Instead of asking around about what could be good for your medical situation or waiting for hours until the doctor sees you in, you can check up with people sharing your worries and affliction. That isn’t to say it replaces doctors.
On the contrary, it connects you to them. Using mobile health apps creates more trust on both sides because you’re not just siting on a couch and sticking your tongue out hoping you’re going to be alright. You can do that anywhere and find out about what could serve you better, keep in touch with professionals and specialists and feel less isolated when you are going through tough times.
Companies can develop a more intimate relationship with their customers and as such offer them security especially when most things related to medicine often surfaces thoughts of uncertainty.
- Mobile apps aren’t here just for the view.
This has been proven for quite some time. It is not just a passing fad but an industry spanning millions of people by now. With one million + apps in 2012 and expected to mushroom in 2013 to new heights , all economic sectors can’t afford to lag behind this innovation. They provide quick info in a few seconds and a few seconds in healthcare have limitless ramifications.
- Consolidates info exchange between hospitals/clinical trials/pharmaceutical products/customer/patients.
All results and changes can be less fragmented and information shared between those named above. Mobile applications tie people together beyond the do’s and don’ts of certain drugs, prescriptions or how they would be more appropriate to a specific scenario.
Personnel engaged in healthcare are smart, that’s a given, but to keep up with all the new info streaming everyday from biotech companies, clinical trials, products and so on is no mean feat. Health apps allow people to share the best information to prevail against doubts and fears.
We’ve saved the best for last. Which is quality of life.
It is ironic but through digital healthcare the overall health of the body can be maintained and when it is sick it can be helped. Besides profits and revenues, mobile health apps can improve the quality of life and happiness and most of all, give a hand in remembering that part of the word ,,healthcare” is care itself.
Have a peach on us, it’s healthy and well….awesome
A useful link containing a comprehensive list of health apps: http://www.pocket.md/home.html
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