Mobile phones seem to be taking over the world. We're rarely more than a few feet away from our phones and many times they're tucked safely in our pockets or bags. Most of us panic whenever we notice our phone is missing and will inconvenience ourselves to go back and pick it up.This attachment to mobile devices is an opportunity for organizations to reach out to their customers wherever they are and at any time. According to Varolii CEO David McCann, healthcare organizations are starting to use mobile to reach out to their customers. Pharmacies, for example, are already communicating with patients when their prescription is ready for pick-up while doctors' offices are starting to send texts to remind patients to schedule a check-up.
But although there are several opportunities for healthcare institutions to leverage mobile phones to communicate with customers, McCann says the majority of larger hospitals haven't released a smartphone app. He believes this will be a common trend in the near future, even among health practitioners who can communicate with their patients and answer questions.
Another great opportunity for health professionals, and even the health insurance industry, is to help patients manage chronic conditions, McCann argues. For example, healthcare providers can remind patients with diabetes to check their blood glucose level, record the information, and send it to the doctor, who will be able to monitor the patient's condition remotely. McCann says such a proactive strategy would allow physicians to reach out to patients when they notice that their health might be deteriorating, allowing them to address problems before they become untreatable.
McCann says physicians could also pre-record instructions telling patients what to do in different situations that are triggered by information that the patient inputs in the app, allowing doctors to be more efficient.
Of course, security is of paramount importance and healthcare entities which communicate with their patients over mobile phones will have to make sure that the information isn't accessed by an unauthorized third party. However, the opportunities to communicate with patients and helping them manage their health conditions can be beneficial for both patients and healthcare entities.