We live in a world where mobile usage is growing exponentially. Unlike other forms of communication, the ubiquity of mobile technology offers promising solutions to the new-era digitally empowered patients, who now seek ""anywhere and anytime"" diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of their health conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes mobile health (mHealth) as the practice of using mobile technologies to support public health and medicine. The ease of access and mobility provided by the use of mobile technology offers immense opportunities for the healthcare industry to address one of the most pressing global challenges: Making healthcare more accessible, faster, better, and cheaper.
According to PwC's Health Research Institute's annual report that highlights the forces expected to have the most impact on industry in 2016, "New experiences will begin to make real the dream of care anywhere, anytime, changing consumer expectations and fueling innovation. In 2016, millions of American consumers will have their first video consults, be prescribed their first health apps and use their smartphones as diagnostic tools for the first time."
Healthcare users now expect tailored content to satisfy their thirst for knowledge. While social media channels also offer opportunities to track the online audience, mobile opens up other extensive features such as push notifications, SMS, geo-location and preference settings. Along with all these features comes the most convenient side — the ease of using mobile applications and internet services whenever, wherever, and however users wish to. The ever-increasing sophistication and development of smartphones is a catalyst driving this change further. Mobile apps, activity trackers, algorithm-based symptom checkers and so on — these are the new entrants in the field of healthcare.
While the world is connected through the internet today, it's hard to understate the importance of online patient experiences. Driven by the excellent online customer experiences they have had with services in other industries, healthcare consumers now have an inclination for the same in healthcare, as well. Digital patient engagement is the foundation for building positive patient relationships. Providers who use digital media for communication and provide mobile health solutions are preferred by consumers over the others who are sluggish digital adapters.
The future path ahead for healthcare providers is to adapt and innovate for providing solutions to meet consumer expectations through latest technology and mobile solutions. Otherwise, in the highly competitive healthcare market, providers who will not pay heed to the mobility needs of today's "always-on" digitally empowered patients could lose them to competitors.
Manish Chauhan is Digital Marketing Manager at myPracticeReputation which is an easy-to-use reputation management solution for physicians to help monitor, protect and promote their medical practices at all times in the simplest way possible.