Today, 83% of the more than 350,000 health-related mobile apps on the market get downloaded fewer than 5,000 times, according to IQVIA—a sign of their lack of perceived value for consumers. A recent survey of 272 healthcare executives, commissioned by Gozio, looked at digital and mobile strategy, and asked some tough questions about adoption and features use.
Among the health systems surveyed, low numbers of mobile app downloads point to lackluster offerings:
- Just 18% of health system execs say their mobile app downloads exceeded 10,000.
- About 15% achieved downloads of 1,001 to 5,000 or more.
- Nearly 10% do not track downloads—and this hinders their ability to evaluate their mobile app. Organizations can’t be successful with mobile app engagement if they are not tracking the impact of their efforts and using this data to enhance their approach.
- Further, only a little more than a third would rate their mobile adoption success as an 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10.
It’s important to note that nearly half of respondents (about 49%) either don’t know how many consumers have downloaded their health system’s mobile app or their organizations do not track this information.
With low downloads signaling low value to the user, the desire to increase consumer engagement with digital investments could be the reason why 82% of health system executives plan to increase investment in patient-facing mobile technology over the next three years.
At a time when the average healthcare executive rates the efficacy of their digital strategy as a 7 out of 10, taking a hard look at user rates for mobile apps by individual service can point to what works, what doesn’t, and whether a provider’s approach to patient-facing mobile apps is truly innovative.
Most health systems offer virtual visits and online payment—no surprise, given the sharp decrease of availability for in-person encounters during the height of the pandemic and the need to facilitate collection of revenue. Yet the most utilized functions on patient-facing apps are links to general information about the system and self-scheduling features. Most systems don't offer experiential wayfinding or location-aware providers search.
This made the survey team wonder: How do health systems determine the types of features consumers most want to see in a mobile app—if they are doing the legwork at all?
“Scheduling will be commonplace, not innovative,” one survey respondent said. “Show me you are working on things for me even when I am not in your office. That's the kind of digital service that will feel special."
Now is the time to explore ways to deliver next-level mobile app offerings to patients to deepen engagement, strengthen loyalty and improve satisfaction. Among survey respondents’ wish lists of mobile app offerings:
- A tool for patients to take notes and include family members virtually
- Digital support for hospital-at-home services
- A platform for communicating with family members of patients
- Wayfinding, a service that 40% of health system executives plan to implement, on top of the 25% who already do
At the same time, patients say their biggest frustrations are around poor communication and billing. So, features that can improve those issues are likely to make a system more appealing. This is critical as 90% now say they don't feel obligated to stay with a provider that doesn't offer a good digital experience.
For more insights from the survey, download the full report.