Patients Want Mobile Healthcare Options

June 10, 2019

Why health executives need to pay attention to mobile options.

Healthcare consumers want a mobile patient experience, according to a new study.

According to a new survey conducted by SOTI, a provider of mobile and IoT device management solutions, more than half of U.S. physicians (57%), offer their patients a mobile app to schedule appointments, access personal healthcare information, and view lab results.

Furthermore, 75% of all patients believe physicians who leverage mobile technology provide a faster and more convenient experience for patients, such as cutting down on physician wait times.

“Mobile technology is transforming consumer habits and because consumers are also patients, we were curious to know whether patient expectations were also changing in the healthcare sector,” says Ryan Webber, vice president of Enterprise Mobility at SOTI. “We conducted this study to get a better understanding of what patients expect from their healthcare provider in terms of mobile technology, what patients are using physician mobile apps for, as well as get consumer insights on the future of mobile technology in the healthcare industry. Our findings further validate that mobile technology is business-critical for the healthcare industry and is a key catalyst for modernizing the patient experience. Therefore, it is critical for healthcare providers to implement mobility strategies that meet changing patient expectations for convenience, speed, and efficiency.”

Related article: What You Don’t Know About Remote Patient Monitoring

For years, physicians have struggled to ensure that their patients followed recommended medical guidance and booked follow-up appointments, according to Webber. “However, with some optimism, our survey results found that mobile apps have the ability to help improve patient follow-up rates, with 46% of patients indicating they are more likely to schedule follow-up visits if they had access to a physician mobile app. There is tremendous incentive for healthcare providers to integrate mobile technology to create a more responsive and personalized healthcare experience, with the potential for healthier patients who respond better to treatment plans due to earlier detection of disease.”

The survey also found:

  • Patients still value face time with their doctors, as 67% of survey respondents prefer having in-office visits over utilizing telehealth services. “While we don’t predict mobile apps replacing the physician/patient relationship, we believe mobile technology will help augment this experience and make it better, for physicians and patients alike,” Webber says. “Patients care about their health and integrating mobile technology such as the ability to easily schedule follow-up appointments with their doctor via an app, could mean earlier diagnoses of disease and lead the way to a more efficient and integrated healthcare system.”

  • The top three functions patients use physician mobile apps for are: scheduling appointments (70%), viewing lab results (52%), and requesting prescriptions (40%). 

SOTI surveyed 552 consumers in the U.S. ranging from 18 to 60 years old. The survey was conducted in April 2019 via Survey Monkey.

“Mobile technology enables more seamless communication, information sharing and streamlining of administrative tasks to benefit healthcare staff and patients alike,” Webber says. “If they haven’t done so already, physicians must integrate mobile technology into their practice to align with changing consumer expectations, digitize paper processes and enhance the overall healthcare experience.”

It is also important for healthcare organizations to ensure proper data security protocols are in place and compliant with healthcare regulations. SOTI’s consumer survey found that healthcare security is of utmost importance to patients, with 40% of patients saying they are very concerned about the potential for data breaches. Eighty percent of patients believe that it should be the physician’s responsibility to protect their confidential healthcare information, placing the onus squarely on healthcare providers for ensuring patient data privacy.