A Better Mobile Experience for Hospital Marketing

How to increase female patient satisfaction — over the phone

There’s incredible demand these days for proprietary hospital mobile apps, but nobody seems to be getting it quite right. Here are some thoughts and tips to help your organization succeed in this space.

There’s a good reason the female-focused blogs on The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are named Motherlode and The Juggle, respectively. Women are busy; we serve many roles, often at the same time. More than anything else, female healthcare decision-makers want help them with the workload. Women are also tech-savvy, more than men at times. Statistics show that mothers are the most active female consumers online and adopt new technologies more quickly than average.

Combine those two thoughts and say hello to mHealth, the use of mobile apps to streamline communication between hospitals and patients. Many large hospitals broke ground early in this burgeoning field, creating apps for categories like ER/urgent care, wayfinding, pregnancy/childbirth, cancer care, physician referrals, wellness and medication tracking.

Not to be outdone, health insurers responded with doctor-consultation apps. Studies have shown that virtual care is just as effective as in-person care for common issues, such as flu, acne, tick bites, and sinus and urinary tract infections. Check out an outline of healthcare companies that offer these services for an idea of how these apps work.

With all of these technological advances, why are only two percent of patients connecting with their hospitals through mobile apps? It could be because as marketers, we’re not listening to what women want. According to Accenture, healthcare decision-makers want three things from a proprietary hospital app:

  1. Access to electronic health records (EHRs)
  2. The ability to book, change or cancel appointments
  3. Prescription refill requests

Simple, right? According to the same Accenture study, only 11 percent of provider apps satisfy even one of those three criteria. Clearly, the healthcare industry can do better. Inpatient experience and mobile engagement are both huge factors that lead to customer satisfaction/retention versus consumers switching hospitals.

Today’s mobile female consumer is information-driven. Unless you give her immediate access to the information and functionality she is seeking, she will go elsewhere. Patients who have poor experiences with your digital and mobile efforts (or who have no mobile option at all) are more likely than ever to migrate to other hospitals. Some estimates for lost revenue are as high as $100 million per hospital due to disappointed patients.

So what can hospital marketers do? Create that app! Find a partner who understands female patients’ needs, build an app that gives them what they want, and then encourage your hospital staff to spread the word. When physicians speak, patients listen: 76% of patients take heed when doctors recommend a mobile application.

There’s an incredible demand for proprietary hospital mobile apps that help make women’s lives easier and more informed. Let’s satisfy that demand before someone else does, lest we lose valuable patients over the mobile phone.

Kathy Selker
I’m Kathy Selker. My work as CEO of Northlich, a Cincinnati-based healthcare marketing agency, has taught me a great deal about how hospitals and health systems can best connect with women to make the most positive impact in their lives.

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