Report Finds Few Patients Use Hospital-Provided Mobile Apps

About two-thirds of the 100 largest U.S. hospitals offer patients mobile health applications, according to report released Wednesday by Accenture, Healthcare IT News reports (Siwicki, Healthcare IT News, 1/6).

Report Details

For the report, Accenture analyzed mobile health apps offered by independent vendors and the largest 100 U.S. hospitals that are available in Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Accenture also gauged consumer attitudes and use of mobile health apps -- as well as electronic, online and mobile health tools -- by reviewing data from:

  • Accenture's 2014 Global Consumer Pulse Research and 2013 Patient Engagement Survey;
  • App Annie;
  • CDC's 2012 National Hospital Discharge Survey; and
  • HIMSS Analytics (Accenture release, 1/6).

Report Findings

According to the report, 66 of the 100 largest U.S. hospitals offer mobile health apps. Of those, about 38% have developed in-house apps.

However, just 2% of patients are using the hospital-provided apps.

The report attributed the low use to hospitals' failure to align app functions with patients' expectations. According to the report, just 11% of hospitals offered apps that provide one of the three most-desired functions among patients:

  • Access to medical records;
  • Appointment scheduling; and
  • Prescription refill requests.

The report estimated that the poor alignment with patients' interests could cost each hospital, on average, more than $100 million in revenue annually.

Meanwhile, the report found that 7% of patients have switched providers because of poor experiences with online customer services, including apps.

Brian Kalis, managing director of the health practice at Accenture, said, "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."

To help prevent that and gain more users, Kalis said hospitals should collaborate with vendors to develop apps as technologies advance (Healthcare IT News, 1/6).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, January 6, 2016

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