January 1, 2019

The Role of Mobile Apps in Healthcare & Patient Experience

5 minute read


As we move towards the Digital Hospital of the future, mobile apps are a key component to enhancing traditional wayfinding technology. We’re already using them for almost everything else in our daily lives, and as such we’ve developed a reliance on them for accurate, real-time information, instructions, and their simplification of our day-to-day actions. We depend on mobile apps to remove friction from our lives. An integral part of an enterprise wayfinding platform, mobile apps have the ability to effectively automate and streamline the overall patient experience. 

They’re available throughout the entire continuum of care

From scheduling systems and patient registration, to finding treatment locations and syncing calendars, facilitating payment processes, and so on, there are mobile apps available for almost every function you can think of. It has become far more convenient and less stressful to log into an app, select your purpose and set an appointment than to pick up the phone and sit on hold for a call centre agent to handle your requests.

Even the check-in process becomes simpler with mobile apps. Upon entering a hospital – triggered by a geo-fence – your app registers your arrival. This effectively removes patient wait time from the check-in process. The app is able to automatically inform your physician of your arrival, and guide you through the hospital to your appointment room in an efficient manner. At the end of your appointment, you’ll be guided to the hospital pharmacy to collect your prescription, and in some cases, straight to your car.

Using your own device is not only convenient, it’s healthier

For some people, the comfort of using their own device to quickly get around and get things done is key. Indeed, that's probably the most obvious advantage of using mobile apps throughout the patient experience.

However there’s one aspect that is also crucial for many - hygiene. Many people who should be seeking medical assistance  avoid going to the hospital for fear of catching something else from another patient. For patients who are uncomfortable using shared devices like touch-screen kiosks, a hospital mobile app is the perfect alternative solution.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) reduces capital outlay

Investing in traditional wayfinding signage can be costly, not only in respect to the capital outlay, but also the cost of regularly updating signage over time as the hospital transforms.

A hospital wayfinding strategy incorporating mobile apps, digital signage, and interactive kiosks can be more cost-effective while, at the same time, offering patients an option for how they navigate healthcare facilities. For example, some patients may find kiosks more accessible than mobile applications, preferring larger interactive map displays, printable directions, and easy registration by swiping an identification card. 

Mobile devices will appeal to more tech-savvy patients, reducing the cost of implementing wayfinding technologies required to deliver an exceptional patient experience.

Hospitals can use mobile apps for patient identification

Positive patient identification (PPID) is crucial to patient safety and the overall patient experience. PPID begins with encoding of individually identifying information on a wristband or tag and affixing it to the patient. Once a patient has been correctly identified, all following actions and related workflows become safer and more efficient.

The overarching value proposition of PPID is the systematic reduction of medical errors, along with the mitigation of potential healthcare and liability issues associated with misidentifying a patient under treatment.

Barry Runyon - Research VP - Gartner

The Beryl Institute defines the patient experience as "the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization's culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care."

Using a mobile approach, hospitals can have better optimized and coordinated workflows, as well as timely access to patient information, enabling them to create a better health care experience.

Updated January 1, 2019: This post was originally published on April 17th, 2015 and has been updated to provide more information.

Topic(s): Healthcare , experience

Jody Shaffer

Jody Shaffer is the VP of Marketing for Inpixon. Beyond her passion for marketing, Jody aspires to run a half marathon. She gets lots of practice chasing her two young daughters around the house.

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