Healthcare organizations throughout the U.S. need to move quickly to address the mobility revolution. Every day, more consumers use their smartphones and tablets to search for information, connect with friends, watch videos and hunt for retail bargains. Mobile internet usage is accelerating around the world, creating a dramatic change in the way Americans are accessing healthcare information.
Many hospitals and health systems with in-house IT teams are developing mobile applications (apps) that provide information about their services. Ambulatory and urgent care centers often use text messaging (SMS) to reach consumers who may already be in their cars.
Physicians and other providers are focusing their technology spending on electronic medical record (EMR) systems and patient portals that can be accessed from the desktop or mobile device. That’s a clear indicator of the ongoing convergence of digital, social and mobile channels. For instance, a potential patient might search for reviews of a provider on her tablet, watch a YouTube video of a procedure on her desktop computer, and gather the opinions of her Facebook friends using her smartphone.
Healthcare organizations of all sizes should consider this trend carefully when planning their patient communication, education and marketing programs. Savvy providers realize it’s no longer enough to rely on a ‘traditional’ website accessed by a desktop or laptop computer. Instead, an organization must reach out to current and prospective patients through the most popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) using their mobile devices. Providers who get in front of the mobility curve will have a distinct advantage in their markets, while those who fail to address this key consumer trend will fall behind.