Mobile Apps: A Key to Patient Engagement

19062124_sAccording to Juniper Research, there were 44 million medical app downloads in 2012. This is expected to rise to 142 million by 2016.  80 percent of physicians are now using mobile technology to provide patient care.  In spite of these trends, studies have shown that only a small percentage of doctors and health care systems are actively recommending health care apps to their patients.

Most people have their mobile phones on them at all times.  25% of Americans now access the Internet only via mobile device.  Mobile allows you to stay connected with your patients anywhere, anytime.  Here are some top ways you can engage patients with mobile apps:

  • Schedule appointments
  • Send appointment reminders
  • Medication, contact lens replacement and vitamin re-order reminders
  • Bi-directional communication
  • Remote patient monitoring
  • Social media connectivity
  • Marketing / promotions

The EyeXam mobile application is the first app in eye care addressing all the features listed above for patient engagement.  Through its partnership with Eyefinity, EyeXam has over 28,000 eyecare professionals listed in a GPS-based directory.  With over 1 million consumer downloads, the EyeXam is a powerful tool to stay connected with a patient base that is increasingly moving to mobile.

As federal regulations and meaningful use requirements urge health care systems to use health information technology and other initiatives to increase patient engagement, there have been several accounts of positive results when it comes to improved healthcare.  Hospitals that engage patients often see better outcomes, reduced readmissions and enhanced patient and staff satisfaction.  Could these results be applied to the eye care arena?

If patient engagement is the cornerstone of healthcare’s future, and mobile devices are the primary vehicles for engagement, then it may be time to embrace mobile apps and their ability to positively change the way  patients and doctors interact with each other?

About:  Steve Vargo, OD, MBA works in a group practice in Merrillville, In.  He is a frequent contributor to Review of Optometric Business, and a consultant to Global EyeVentures – developer of the EyeXam app.  He can be contacted at svargo@gmail.com.

Download the free EyeXam app.

Posted in Mobile Marketing, Mobile Technology, Practice management and tagged , , , .

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