The Age of Consumerism. It’s a term we’re all familiar with. But in industries such as healthcare that long have limited offering the consumer choices, today’s ability for consumers to “shop around” has changed the dynamic and forced them to shift strategies.
With large-scale changes prompted by the Affordable Care Act, the responsibility of picking providers, clinics and practitioners is now largely in the hands of the individual. And with more responsibility comes the need for more informed decision-making. Thus, healthcare organizations large and small now have a stronger need to differentiate themselves to consumers.
When shopping for providers, many consumers evaluate the facility and practitioners’ ratings online, driven by the experiences of previous patients. But what makes those experiences positive, and what can healthcare practices do to ensure they maintain their standing as a desirable selection?
Just like any other industry, many healthcare consumers now shop for the most up-to-date technology; they want to know their providers have modernized. One way to help show this is by implementing the use of mobile devices, such as Apple® iPads, throughout your organization, so you can boost your online reviews and word-of-mouth marketing in numerous ways.
1. Mobile devices suggest to consumers that you’re keeping current
Mobile devices have widely become a part of our daily lives. According to the Pew Research Center’s November 2016 report, 77 percent of the U.S. population owns smartphones and 51 percent owns tablet devices. With more than 100,000 mobile health applications in market, having relevant, up-to-date technology in the healthcare is a must. That includes mobile devices ─ which also add convenience to the customer experience.
Picture this: You’re sitting atop a wax paper-covered exam table in your doctor’s office, anxiously waiting while staring at what looks to be archaic hardware. While looking at this chunky piece of machinery you realize you’re in a clinic that’s still running Windows XP. You are thinking, “Goodness, is my healthcare service also going to be outdated?”
Then consider what your experience would be like if instead, your provider was sitting across from you with an Apple iPad in hand, actively engaging with you while collecting information on the device. Your perception has shifted, right?
Beyond the simple fact that mobile devices add to the vast services that healthcare workers can provide, they have become an integral part to our daily lives. The expectation for modern technology is alive, real and an area that healthcare providers need to address.
2. Mobile devices facilitate a better sense of connection
People like to feel connected – to their friends, to their family members and to those who are overseeing and playing an active role in their health. Today, mobile devices play a huge role in growing the sense of connection between patients and their providers. From Electronic Health Record (EHR) applications such as Epic Haiku and Canto, to digital anatomical diagrams such as Complete Anatomy, there are an abundance of applications that healthcare professionals can use when conversing with patients for a clear dialog.
Also, more and more providers are enabling virtual patient visits via mobile devices. This helps patients feel connected by getting the medical information they need without making a physical trip to the office.
3. Mobile devices mean shorter patient wait times
One of the best things about mobile devices is in the name itself; they’re mobile. What this means for healthcare practices is that rather than being tied to desktops to manually enter patient information, medical professionals can now enter data on the go. And they have access to applications that help them better capture that information – whether that’s by scanning patient wristbands, more easily accessing patient records through EHR applications, updating charts or consulting plans of care without the need to leave their patient's side.
With the ability to do their job while mobile, healthcare providers have the tools to reduce the time it takes to do their job, and potentially reduce their patients’ time spent waiting.
Armed with the ability to choose their own healthcare provider, facility and physicians, individuals are “large-and-in-charge” when it comes to making healthcare decisions. This is forcing healthcare organizations to grapple with the need to maintain good ratings. One step in the right direction is updating your technology and implementing mobile devices in your practice.
How have mobile devices impacted your healthcare organization? Let us know in the comments.