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HealthTech without Engagement is Eye Candy

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Sondra Brown

President and Founder

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend #HLTH2021 in Boston. It was well attended and safe with both vaccine AND testing requirements. The conference focuses on technology solutions that have the potential to radically change how we “do" healthcare. However, these solutions can make healthcare even more confusing for consumers.

 

Did you know that there are currently over 350,000 health apps, 20,000 introduced in 2020 alone? As I think about that statistic and the goal of technology, to create a more consumer-centric health ecosystem, I wonder if we need to reframe our perspective.

 

The challenge is not that we lack technology solutions for engaging with patients but that they are aligned around the provider and confusing to navigate. Also, I believe that we are too focused on the wrong metric -- activation. In the past 18 months, most health providers experienced a significant uptick in patient portal sign-ups – for some because it was the only way to see a provider and for others because it was needed to receive a vaccine. And now, what?

 

We should focus on engagement rather than activation. Most apps have only a 5-10% engagement/adoption rate. If these solutions are the way to a more human-centered healthcare system, that statistic needs to change significantly.

 

The technology solutions that will succeed are those which simplify and streamline healthcare by integrating seamlessly into the larger care model. They will follow the patient (consumer) all the way through the funnel and supply end-to-end solutions that do not require the patient to navigate multiple technologies. During a session on Remote Patient Monitoring, Warner Thomas, CEO of Ochsner Health noted that the goal is to “never discharge a patient. The goal at Ochsner is to continually engage a patient, moving us from reactive to proactive.” This requires a partnership between HealthTech and providers, and if successful, will change the ecosystem.

 

We can do this. Our consumers expect it.

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