With the rise of always-on connectivity across industries, it’s only a matter of time before technology comes along and truly disrupts patient care. In today’s healthcare space alone, there are a wide array of software and hardware solutions that are created in an attempt to make the patient experience easier, but that doesn’t necessarily differentiate healthcare facilities from their competitors. From the patient’s perspective they see the same software just with a different name for each facility. The question that arises within the healthcare industry is now, “How can we create custom mobile applications or patient portals that leverage the existing enterprise healthcare backend solutions?”
As the amount of healthcare platforms and technologies continues to increase, creating a single, consistent user experience that differs from the competition can be a daunting task. Consumers are demanding increased connectivity and security across the board. Specifically, in healthcare, patients expect to have an effortless, provider-branded experience, where they are not redirected to numerous platforms. Here we discuss the top challenges facing healthcare and how to overcome the ever-increasing challenges of app development for patients:
Step into Patient Care
With today’s connected devices, patients already house a wealth of medical knowledge. Patients of all ages carry smartphones that have access to readily available medical information and a number of those individuals collect and track their own health data through the use of wearable technology such Apple Watches or Fitbits. With all this valuable health data being collected on a daily basis, healthcare professionals need to start asking questions such as:
- How can we turn wellness tracking into more than just a motivational tool and create useful data out of these numbers?or
- How can we take the heartrate monitor and hydration levels shown on these devices and integrate it into patient medical records to create to personal care based on that wellness tracking?
The answer lies within the patient. Start by allowing users to simply submit and store their wellness data within their provider profile portal. Although, providers need to be cautious as patients’ use of wellness tracking devices increases their expectation that their data is leveraged by their healthcare providers to provide personalized health plans and recommendations.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All Ages
The healthcare industry relates to every generation at every stage of life. From Baby Boomers entering retirement to Millennial mothers seeking maternity and child care. Each of these patients has different needs and levels of involvement when it comes to healthcare. A mother may not have the time to sit on hold waiting to schedule appointments for her children, so logging on to a patient portal to schedule appointments at the push of a button may be what she needs. Whereas a 75-year-old going in for an annual checkup may simply be looking for doctor office hours and locations. When creating a digital engagement strategy, segment your users and understand specifically how they want to interact. Start with those most inclined to use the new services (i.e. Millennials or Generation X). Then, whatever the desired front-end customer experience is, it can be tailored to each individual patient demographic, while still utilizing the “off the shelf” backend infrastructure (i.e. EPIC).
Provide access while complying with privacy and HIPAA concerns
Due to the sensitive nature of the healthcare industry, patient privacy and HIPPA compliance can always appear to be a barrier for true innovation. Patients and Healthcare organizations dread discussing digital solutions due in part to the vast requirements of HIPPA. However, there are a lot of features and patient experiences available to alleviate small pain-points while staying within compliance. The solution? Initially avoid dealing HIPPA regulated patient data and opt for a low compliance digital solution. For healthcare, this could be anything from chatting online with doctors, booking appointments, finding a new PCP, searching where to get lab work done, etc. Small but important services that can aid in the patient experience.
How do you integrate these features in?
The key to having a digital experience that differs from the competitors, is to create unique portals and applications that work in partnership with “off the shelf” software systems, like EPIC.Evaluate your current backend and 3rd party providers to understand which platforms provide seamless integration via APIs/SDKs. Then start creating a custom app tailored to your patients, start by leveraging those with existing integration capabilities from the off-the-shelfsoftware. This customization allows you to integrate other functionalities into the platform, such as virtual doctor visits, wearable integration, and online scheduling.
Here at DMI, we have an agreement with a number of the larger healthcare management companies. By creating customizable mobile applications, DMI has been able to use mobility solutions to improve the patient experience from allowing customers to search nearby PCP’s and chat with healthcare providers to schedule ER visits, view lab results, pay bills and more.
Imagine what would happen if more healthcare facilities created customizable applications for patients, the possibilities for the future of the patient care and the overall patient experience becomes endless. Contact us if are looking to transform your digital patient platforms.
Director of Business Development, BMCX