Thursday, October 2, 2014

Two Additional Reasons Why Health App Adoption is Bound to Grow

The Population Health Blog is avidly learning about health apps for patients

As described here, half of U.S adults now own a smartphone, half of them use them to obtain health information and approximately a fifth have at least one health app loaded on their device. 

Regular PHB readers are well aware of the potential for health apps, including lay-person education, the promotion of consumer behavior change, increased consumer-provider connectivity with greater access to care, better medication compliance as well as medication reconciliation, increased self-care, greater quality and lower costs.

But as the PHB's e-health experience grows, it's encountered two under-recognized features of apps that - in its opinion -  are sure to also drive their adoption:

1. The Provider App Arms Race:  As  competition for loyal patients grows, health systems, care organizations, insurers, buyers and provider networks are going to expect their apps to create greater consumer "stickiness."  For example, offering a tablet with a pre-configured app may enable hospitals to not only reduce readmissions, but enhance their brand recognition.

2. The App Is the Outcome: It will take years for science to prove that apps cause better outcomes. While lingering skepticism will prove to be another bonanza for outfits like this, the luster of smart-device gadgetry will be too much to resist. As a result, it's only a matter of time until Boards and their CEOs pressure their management teams to launch their own app.  While the electronic record and big data are important advances, let's face it: they're in the background. There's nothing like a patient-facing app to remind customers, families and providers of the organization's health tech chops.

Image from Wikipedia


Al Lewis said...

We don't always agree on everything (to put it mildly) but I think you nailed this one. It's all about the marketing, the stickiness and the loyalty. That is key. Most people focus on outcomes but (1) you have a point about how long it will take and (2) a lot of users will already be healthy and just be interested in the data.

Also, you'll be happy to know people READ your blog. We got a passel of click-throughs just on that one comment about "outfits like this." We will be pleased to add this to the related sites page on one ours.

Jaan Sidorov said...

If there are enough readers to generate a passel AND Al Lewis agrees with me, it's a good blogging day.