If we look back over the last decade, digital healthcare platforms have made significant strides, particularly healthcare apps and HIPAA-compliant websites. The explosion of these platforms have been propelled by consumer demand for innovative technologies that empower users to have a larger role in managing their health, and by healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience and entice engagement. As consumers increasingly use a variety of digital self-service tools for managing their health, this demand has forced the delivery of healthcare to be reenvisioned in how organizations acquire and retain patient volumes. One study found that from 2014 to 2017 consumer use of mobile and tablet health apps have tripled while the use of health-related wearables almost quadrupled; and 75% of consumers view technology as an important part of personal health management.
But even with major advancements in digital technology, healthcare is still hindered by old-fashioned and ineffective processes, ripe for disruption. While consumer demand is higher than ever for digital healthcare technologies, medical and healthcare players have remained stagnant and unable to give patients what they’re asking for.
Strangely, even though healthcare is the most profitable industry in the US economy it ranks last out of 25 industries for simplicity of experience. As customer experience continues to evolve as the last competitive differentiator across industries, it appears that healthcare may very well be the last of industries to adopt customer, or patient experience, as a priority — counterintuitive as it may sound. It remains unclear if healthcare as a whole can adapt to evolving consumer trends and expectations, and whether existing players who refuse to, can survive. HIMSS reported that 79% of consumers are more likely to select a provider that allows them to conduct healthcare interactions online or on a mobile device.
The influence of consumer technology on healthcare has skyrocketed as we watch the dramatic increase in wearables — which have become more affordable and higher quality with successive models — combined with fitness and wellness apps. This biometric data transfer from wearable to mhealth app has given consumers a wealth of insights into managing their health and become increasingly useful by clinicians to analyze data in realtime. One prime example is an mhealth app from Baylor Heart Center, developed by Medical Web Experts, which allows patients to manage their heart and vascular health by performing guided meditation exercises while at the same time tracking heart rate via an Apple Watch.
Lost in the growth of consumer-facing digital technologies is the importance of HIPPA-compliant medical and healthcare websites that protect patient data. HIPAA-compliant websites ensure all protected health information transmitted online is secure (e.g., contact and online patient forms, live chat, patient portals, patient reviews and testimonials). A provider can fail to ensure his or her website is HIPAA-compliant, however healthcare organizations have become increasingly aware of these regulatory standards to protect users personal information online.
The proliferation of the mobile health app and HIPAA-compliant website has been fueled by demand for consumer technologies in the healthcare sphere and security when it comes to personal information. But the industry still has a long way to go; as technology continues to advance we should expect healthcare organizations to take note of consumer trends and modify their offerings to satisfy patient’s wants and needs.
This article has been sponsored by Bridge Patient Portal
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