In this article, the third of a 3 part series – we’ll describe an 8 step process that will help physicians determine if and how they can get ROI (return on investment) for using online services like smartphone healthcare apps and private social networking.
In Part 1 of our 3 part series on getting value out of healthcare apps, we we looked at the notion of Flavorgasmic healthcare apps – the kind of mobile healthcare apps that look fabulous at first glance but just don’t have staying power.
We saw that technology coolness is not sufficient and that the healthcare app should fit naturally into a person’s daily routine and also be extremely easy to use – without forcing additional functionality on the user.
In Part 2 of our 3 part series on getting value out of healthcare apps, 5 things that make hit healthcare apps we reframed the question of what makes healthcare apps popular in terms of the kind of value that a mobile healthcare app provides for patients, doctors and caregivers. We concluded that a mobile healthcare app needs 5 things in order to become a hit for the user and not just in terms of downloads in Google Play or the App Store.
- The healthcare app has be personally relevant, and important to you in your daily routine
- The healthcare app has to be really easy to use. Fun does not hurt but it is not enough.
- The healthcare app should save time for your healthcare providers
- The healthcare app has to make life easier for your family
- The healthcare app should provide less and more focused information, not more data for your primary care physician.
The first thing we observe from the above 5 requirements is that 3 out of the 5 involve other people besides the patient – healthcare providers and caregivers.
This is beginning to sound like a great application for social networking and indeed, the most successful healthcare apps like Runkeeper involve a community of people. This is key – the mixin of social and personal healthcare apps.
There is so much hype – healthcare apps, iPhone 5 Android Jelly Bean and social media.
Just look at all the blogs, tweets and “thought leadership” reports from consultants. Social media excels at marketing and lead generation but it is essentially a very-time intensive channel both for the people who generate content and the people who consume the content.
Healthcare apps can also be very useful in educating patients, but the key question is technology solutions looking for problems but “How can I use modern digital tools to spend more time with people I love,reduce my stress and improve the medicine I give my patients?”
A physician needs to be able to build a case for ROI (return on investment) for using healthcare apps and online services like private social networking for healthcare.
So – here it is:
The 8 step process for getting ROI on healthcare apps from a physicians’ perspective:
- Clearly recognize your primary problem (Reduce stress and burnout)
- Formulate a clear interpretation of the problem (If I could spend more time with people I love and still be a good doctor, that would be a good thing)
- Don’t keep up with the Joneses just because it’s fashionable (I should use social media and healthcare apps just because everyone is doing it)
- Use your own common-sense about the problem (I have a nickel in my pocket, why should I spend it on Twitter and healthcare apps for patient relationship management)
- Consider views of others (other physicians, not just the social media marketing and management consultants)
- Formulate the problem in technology and coolness-free terms (How can I achieve easier and faster decision making and spend less time fighting fires with patients)
- State the criteria a good solution should meet (The healthcare apps and social networking solutions I use should be cheap, productive, intuitive and easy to use)
- Determine if these criteria are endorsed by your stakeholders (Can my patients use the solution with no special training?)
- Increase patient confidence
- Give you complete privacy
- Increased compliance
- Better outcomes