Hospital leaders are challenged with overcrowded emergency rooms as a result of higher demand vying for a limited number of primary care physicians. Various studies about outpatient services have elicited problems which include overcrowding, delay in consultation, and lack of proper guidance that leads to patient dissatisfaction. As patients look for hassle free and quick services for medical treatment, healthcare leaders are looking for solutions, including those offered by a hospital app, to accommodate this need in light of financial challenges.1
Unnecessary Emergency Room (ER) visits are a major cost driver and quality issue for hospitals today. Most noteworthy is the fact that 70% of ER visits are for non-urgent conditions. Simply diverting 10% of these unnecessary visits to a non-ER primary care alternative based on 24 million enrollees would yield a potential savings of $461 million each year.2 Moreover, a study found that patients who received help from their providers such that they could share in decision making of who to see saw 12.5 percent fewer hospital admissions and 5.3 percent lower healthcare costs.3
A hospital app can coordinate care across providers and help direct patients to the right provider based on the following functionality:
- Appointment Scheduling: Allow patients to schedule appointments and send out appointment reminders.
- Self-help: Offer patients an instant symptom checker of the most common, non-urgent conditions
- Indoor Navigation: Make it easier for patients and visitors to find their way around hospital buildings and grounds by providing them with indoor navigation systems like iBeacons.
- Promotion / Awareness: Provide a list of applicable health facilities nearby, directions, hours of operation, waiting times and accepted insurance.
- Prescription adherence: Offer prescription reminders and timed push messages to improve patient education and adherence.
- Reduce Emergency Room (ER) visits: Inform patients of alternative primary care facilities addressing the specific condition a patient is experiencing. Non-ER primary alternatives can be cheaper and also more convenient for the patient.
- Reduce Preventable Readmissions: Provide pre-op and post-op instructions for any surgery or procedure. Offer medication protocol notifications and reminders.
- Reminders: Coordinate and notify patients of immunization and physical check-up schedules.
Hospitals can also make it easier for patients and visitors to find their way around the buildings and grounds by providing them with navigation systems. iBeacons could come in handy for such systems as they support indoor navigation much better than GPS systems.
Determine the Right Care
Provide a branded hospital app which can be distributed via QR codes or links on your website, email, posters, etc. Educate your patients about care options and self assessment for initial triage. Based on symptoms observed, patients can be directed to the appropriate healthcare facility – whether it be the Emergency Room in hospitals, urgent or primary care facilities, medical clinics, other outpatient clinics, etc.
Show the Right Facilities
Within the Health Facility app, provide a list of different facilities, their opening hours, directions to get there, and dynamically populated waiting times. Facilities can be shown based on proximity to a patient’s location or based on symptoms entered. Promote the nearest alternative(s) that can accommodate the patients’ self assessment.
Offer Medication & Appointment Reminders
The best course of action against any malady is preventive health care. Get timely immunizations and physical check-ups to. Offer patients the ability to book, change or cancel appointments.
As medication non-adherence is a huge problem in the industry, consider offering consistently effective medication adherence interventions. Send out daily alerts, offer prescription refill reminders, and inform patients how to take or apply their medication properly.
The Medical Facility / Hospital App Business Case:
A number of mobile solutions exist to reduce healthcare costs for providers, payers and patients. In fact, a specific mobile app use case directing patients to receive the right care from the right provider can reduce US healthcare cost by $140 billion to $180 billion. (source: McKinsey)
Medical practitioners can improve medication non-adherence through notifications and reminders. With 50% of all chronic patients not taking their medications as prescribed, the economic cost associated with non-adherence is estimated at $100 billion to $289 billion annually. Through successful self-management of chronic diseases, an approximate cost-to-savings ratio of 1:10 can be realised. (source: www.cdc.gov)
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. Patients cite poor user experience and poor functionality as being the main reasons for not fully using hospital-sponsored health apps. With 54% of health consumers wanting to interact more with healthcare providers, continued customer dissatisfaction could translate to hospitals losing more than $100 million in annual revenue per hospital. (3)
Let Synegys help you with your mobility strategy planning and implementation of a hospital app. We offer expertise in: mobile technology usage, infrastructure for mobility, implementation methods and success measurements. Moreover we can help augment IT staffing levels and skills and offer best practice knowledge.