Although 66 percent of the largest 100 US hospitals have consumer-facing mobile apps, and 38 percent of those have developed proprietary apps for their patients, a mere 2 percent of patients at those 66 hospitals are using apps provided to them, according to an Accenture report.
For this report, Accenture used data from a variety of sources, including Accenture 2014 Global Consumer Pulse Research and Accenture 2013 Patient Engagement Survey. The research firm also used data from HIMSS Analytics, CDC 2012 National Hospital Discharge Survey, and the App Annie Q3 2014 Market Data to calculate usage of mobile apps among hospital patient populations.
“Simply having a mobile app is not enough,” Brian Kalis, the managing director in Accenture’s Health practice, said in a statement. “Hospital apps are failing to engage patients by not aligning their functionality and user experience with what consumers expect and need. Consumers want ubiquitous access to products and services as part of their customer experience, and those who become disillusioned with a provider’s mobile services – or a lack thereof – could look elsewhere for services.”
Just 11 percent of the proprietary apps offered to patients include at least one of the top three features that consumers have expressed an interest in, according to past surveys. Some 11 percent of apps offer access to medical records, 8 percent offer existing patients the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments, 2 percent offer new patients the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments, and 6 percent help patients request prescription refills.
Accenture believes approximately 7 percent of patients have changed their health system based on bad experiences with the hospital’s online customer service, which includes mobile apps and web chat functionality. And if this continues, hospitals could lose more than $100 million in annual revenue per hospital, the firms estimates.
“Mobile engagement is becoming increasingly critical to the success of every hospital in the digital age,” Kalis said. “Today it’s all about enabling an individualized approach, where patients are empowered to help manage their own care. Large hospitals that design and build experiences as well as partner with digital disruptors will have the ability to better engage with their patients, which will enhance patient loyalty – thereby enabling the hospitals to protect their revenues.”