News Feature | July 17, 2014

Are Your Clinician Clients Taking Advantage Of Patient Smartphone Use?

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Patient Smartphone Users

The vast majority of your clients’ patients use smartphones, and chances are, they themselves are on board with the idea of more patient-centered care. A global survey by FICO indicates that there may be an opportunity for them to better connect with their patients through smartphone enabled functionality.

FICO, a leading predictive analytics and decision management software company, conducted a survey in which 80 percent of respondents indicated that they would like the option to use their smartphones to interact with their healthcare providers. That includes government and private insurers, hospitals, pharmacies, mail-order drug companies, third party administrators, and clinics.

Survey Details

The survey investigated consumer preferences and tendencies around mobile, online, and in-person interactions with healthcare providers. It included 2,239 adult smartphone users from the following countries: UK, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and the United States.

Possibilities

The results of the same survey indicated that 76 percent of people around the world would like to be reminded of their medical appointments via smartphone, and 69 percent would like reminders to set up appointments and alert them to take medication.

According to FICO's chief product and technology officer, Stuart Wells, “The way healthcare organizations communicate with people is changing as individuals become more and more sophisticated about using information technology to make health-related decisions. People are especially interested in mobile services that can help them manage their personal health and shop for health care services. The leading health care providers are increasingly turning to mobile technologies to meet this demand, and to engage frequently and proactively with consumers.”

Aligning With Trends

Offering patients options, like alerts from their doctor, is right in line with larger health trends. The survey showed an increase in the use of alternative advice channels — almost two-thirds of smartphone users indicated that they wished to receive medical advice through digital methods instead of visiting a doctor. Beyond that, 71 percent were open to offers from (relevant) businesses, and 53 percent welcomed provider-initiated communications.

Wells added, “Mail order pharmacies are checking customer orders via mobile applications, insurers are validating policy details, and medical service providers are requesting feedback on the quality of their services or managing follow-up care. Privacy is critically important and consumers are required to opt-in, but given the benefits of mobile technology in the healthcare field, that doesn't appear to be an impediment to adoption. People are eager to have a dialog with their healthcare providers in ways that are convenient to them.”

Going Deeper

More information on smartphone use and preferences in healthcare interactions can be accessed on FICO’s site here.

Expanding patients’ access to information will definitely create more challenges to IT security. Read about 6 critical pressure points healthcare provider networks need to address in this article.

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