Smartphone Apps Bolster Patient Engagement

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , December 14, 2011

Smartphone apps should be measured more broadly than direct revenue, she says. "Again, think about the target audience and their preferred method of engagement. Your goal should be to build a relationship with your targeted consumer and be a valuable resource to them."

Like most digital initiatives, apps provide very detailed tracking reports. The best metrics are number of downloads, dates and location of downloads, user actions, number of times activated, trend reports, and app ratings.

Once you've obtained and analyzed this information, you can tailor the app and potential future apps to better meet patient needs.

Focus on patient interest

An innovative, targeted app can be a key part of an integrated marketing campaign, but an app launched for the wrong reasons has a higher risk of falling flat. "Apps must be developed through the process of providing a real consumer benefit," DeTora warns.

And since a good app costs between $10,000 and $15,000 to develop, healthcare marketers need to create something that's worth the expense.

"It needs to be of interest to your target audience or they will not take the time to download it," DeTora says. "If the app is marketed as a valuable benefit, but is actually a way of pushing out hospital messages of no value, the consumer will not engage and you have turned off a potentially loyal customer."

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