Patients say physicians with mobile apps are faster, convenient, offer better communication

As the healthcare industry undergoes a wide-ranging digital transformation, mobile applications are proving to be a hit with patients.

What happened?

This is the chief finding of a survey of 550 U.S. consumers commissioned by mobile device management specialist SOTI. The survey also found more than half of U.S. physicians (57 percent) offer their patients a mobile app to do tasks like schedule appointments, access personal healthcare information or view lab results.

More revealing was the fact that three quarters of patients surveyed said physicians who integrate mobile technology are able to provide a faster and more convenient experience. 54 percent of survey respondents said they thought physicians who leverage mobile technology cut down on physician wait times.

In addition, the survey results revealed 57 percent of respondents prefer to communicate with physicians and office staff through mobile apps as opposed to calling the doctor’s office directly.

What is the trend?

Mobile security is still a main issue with potential users, however, with four in 10 surveyed patients indicating they are “very concerned” about the potential for data breaches.

When it comes to protection of their confidential healthcare data, the vast majority – nearly 80 percent of those surveyed – said they believe that the onus should be on physicians to keep security standards high.

Even though adoption of mobile-based services is growing, the survey also indicated mobile app adoption still has barriers, with 67 percent of respondents preferring in-office visits over telehealth services.

The top three functions for which patients used mobile apps included scheduling appointments (70 percent), viewing lab results (52 percent) and requesting prescriptions (40 percent).

On the record

“This survey reinforces the fact that mobility is modernizing patient experiences and enabling the future of healthcare,” SOTI’s vice president of enterprise mobility Ryan Webber said. “There are endless possibilities to leverage a diverse range of mobile and IoT devices to reinvent healthcare and improve patient follow-up rates, reduce physician wait times, and enable a faster and more efficient experience for patients.”

Physicians should be integrating mobile technology into their practice, for example, providing access to tablets at the reception desk for patient sign-in and apps for scheduling appointments and other key functions, suggested Webber.

Why it matters?

This survey comes as a Providence St. Joseph Health care management app was found helpful by 94 percent of the patients who used it. And the app not only helped streamline interactions between patients and caregivers, but also built longer lasting and stronger relationships and trust, the provider organization reported.

Big tech players are pushing for broader use of health apps, too: In April, Community Health Systems announced Apple’s Health Records app for iPhones was now available to patients at approximately 100 CHS-affiliated hospitals.

Patients who have received care from a CHS-affiliated participating hospital can use their iPhones to receive and store details from their medical records, ranging from allergies and conditions to procedures and vitals.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.

Email the writer: nat[email protected]

Twitter: @dropdeaded209

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