Keeping Your Customers with Disruptive Technology

There’s a lot of talk about disruptive innovation these days. That’s supposed to be a good thing. Why? It gives you the opportunity to engage with your patients and customers in new ways. The smartphone is everywhere. It is becoming so ingrained into U.S. families that more than half of cellphone users port an iPhone or other smartphone – and they are not going away. Families are spending more on phone bills over the past four years as they cut expenses for dining out, clothes and entertainment.

Users keep their smartphones close at hand during their waking hours to meet their needs and desires wherever they happen to be. They

  • Seek recommendations for services
  • Use it as a GPS device to get directions
  • Communicate with family and friends using social media
  • Watch news and entertainment

There are thousands of apps available that track weight, blood pressure, exercise, give instructions for CPR as well as finding the nearest hospital emergency room or doctor. I downloaded an app to track my father’s blood pressure and weight each day. The measurements are taken by his caregiver and recorded in an iPad. The iPad goes to the doctor when he has a checkup. The doctor can view the data on a daily graph or in a standard table. The app replaced a paper notebook and now gives the doctor a health summary on key indicators – something that wasn’t possible with hand recorded values.

If your customers are using their cell phones or tablets to access healthcare information, healthcare providers should be there when they are looking.

Some tips to engage your patients and customers on mobile devices:

  • Make your web site friendly to mobile devices. Sites that are optimized for mobile devices are easier to use and maneuver. The mobile version is usually condensed and may not contain all the same content as the regular site. Select what is most important to your user.
  • Recommend appropriate apps customized to a patient’s needs. Select apps customized by patient type. For example, a glucose monitoring app for diabetes patients or an app listing the sodium level in food for congestive heart patients. There are medication reminder apps for those who need help remembering what to take and when.
  • Remind patients of free preventive activities and to schedule an appointment.
  • Use text messages or emails as a primary mode of communication for one-way non-PHI type transactions.
  • Send a healthy message every week. There are services that provide this if you choose.

The biggest benefit: It looks like you care.