Only 2 percent of patients in the largest U.S. hospitals are using hospital-provided mHealth apps. According to the new research from Accenture, this failure to align mobile apps to the services consumers’ demand could cost each of these hospitals, on average, more than $100 million in lost annual revenue.
The research has found that two-thirds (66 percent) of the 100 largest U.S. hospitals have mobile apps for consumers and roughly two-fifths (38 percent) of that subset have developed apps for their patients. However, only 11 percent of health systems offer patients apps that operate with at least one of the three functions that consumers demand most: access to medical records; the ability to book, change and cancel appointments; and the ability to request prescription refills electronically.
Approximately 7% of patients have switched healthcare providers due to a poor experience with online customer service channels.“Hospital apps are failing to engage patients by not aligning their functionality and user experience with what consumers expect and need,” Brian Kalis, managing director in Accenture’s Health practice, said in a statement. “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.”
And in fact, approximately 7 percent of patients have switched healthcare providers due to a poor experience with online customer service channels, such as mobile apps and web chat. Accenture suggests that as consumers bring their service expectations from other industries into healthcare, providers are likely to see higher switching rates, on par with the mobile phone industry (9 percent), cable TV providers (11 percent) or even retail (30 percent).
Beyond analyzing apps offered by hospitals, researchers also tried apps developed by Good Rx, ZocDoc and WebMD, only to suggest that hospitals should partner with digital disruptors to deliver better user experiences.
“Large hospitals that design and build experiences as well as partner with digital disruptors will have the ability to better engage with their patients, which will enhance patient loyalty — thereby enabling the hospitals to protect their revenues,” Kalis added.
Accenture calculated usage of mobile apps among hospital patient populations by consulting data from HIMSS Analytics, CDC 2012 National Hospital Discharge Survey and App Annie Q3 2014 Market Data. The lost revenue analysis was calculated by comparing U.S. healthcare expenditure projections against modeling from Accenture’s 2014 Global Consumer Pulse Research.