The short answer? Yes.

Like it or not, we live in a fast-paced, non-stop information society. We’ve all grown accustomed to having everything at the touch of a button (or screen)—so much so that we expect it. We are constantly connected to and interacting with our mobile phones. And healthcare is no exception.

There are apps for managing chronic conditions, comparison shopping of doctors/physicians, pregnancy monitoring, medical diagnosis, screening schedules and calendars, medication and treatment reminders, ER wait times, setting and changing appointments, health news and updates, and so much more. The possibilities are endless and the opportunities abound for hospitals and health systems. And the time is now to take advantage of these opportunities.

The ACA has created a seismic shift in how consumers perceive and interact with healthcare providers and insurers. This new, more consumer-driven marketplace is resulting in consumers who more closely monitor the care they receive and various habits or lifestyle decisions that affect their overall health.

For hospitals, mobile applications can be a key tool in population health management. An app can help manage and reduce healthcare utilization by giving consumers more control over their health and providing the resources they need to manage their well being. It’s a fast and inexpensive way to connect with consumers—especially by housing the app on your website for easy downloads by your patients. Not to mention a way to build your brand awareness. A mobile application that is relevant to your patients and becomes part of their habitual mobile usage will increase interaction with your brand.

However, mobile application development is not one size fits all. A huge advantage to adding a mobile app to your arsenal is that it can be fully customized to answer your organization’s unique and specific business problems and objectives. And it doesn’t stop there. The app should be built to reflect the colors, look and feel of your brand so that it becomes an even greater part of the consumer’s life.

The opportunity comes when you look at the current mobile application landscape for healthcare. While the number of organizations offering mobile apps increased by 13% last year, a majority of the available apps lack functionality and do not address the greatest needs. However, if the current trend continues, having a mobile application for your organization may become commonplace. Now is the time to get ahead of the competition by creating a mobile app that addresses needs that aren’t being met in unique and creative ways, and provides value to the end-user.

Because at SPM we believe in capitalizing on what’s next in our industry, the answer to the question “Should your hospital develop a mobile application?” for us is yes. As long as it is functional, valuable and relevant to the consumer.

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