You Can't Ignore Mobile Healthcare (mHealth)

Each year, more people use mobile devices to access the internet a so it shouldn’t come as a shock to realize that more people are searching for health information from their tablets and smart phones. A mobile site can benefit current or potential customers differently than a desktop version because those searching via handheld devices are often closer to conversion a and therefore, are looking for specific information.

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Who uses mobile?

Patients search for symptoms and facility directions from their phones. Physicians and administrators use tablets and smart phones to research and ultimately choose specific health care products. Whether you’re a health care provider or a B2B brand that supplies health products, we strongly recommend exploring Google Analytics to determine the volume of visitors coming to your website through a mobile device. This will help you gauge the importance of investing in this product.

Improved User Experience

Mobile websites are built for small screens and finger-driven navigation. This means visitors won’t have to zoom in to view an image or find a link to click. It is terribly frustrating to click on the wrong anchor text, and in this age, people don’t have the patience for a poor user experience. A mobile site enables you to use your fingers to move through a website.

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Functional Features

Desktop versions of websites usually fall short when viewed from a mobile screen a not only visually, but also in terms of functionality. When searching for a hospital from your smart phone, people expect to be able to seamlessly make a call from the website instead of memorizing the digits and manually entering them in the phone. Mobile websites also simplify the process of submitting contact information, whether through forms or email.

Provide information patients most want

When searching from a phone or tablet, people are restricted with the capabilities provided by a mobile screen, so it’s important to enable fast access to the information patients are most interested in retrieving. Tim Murphy, a mobile website developer, put together a helpful case study that explores how he defines the needs of three different personas. The key pieces of information patients typically want to find are:

  • Doctor information
  • Hours
  • Parking
  • Map directions (with native GPS ability)
  • Map of hospital layout
  • ER wait time feeds
  • Resources

As Tim shows in his presentation above, not everyone accessing the mobile website is a patient. Healthcare providers should feature content on the mobile site that caters to the different personas.

 

Effective advertising

Due to the significant percentage of user drop-off after the first page of results, ranking favorably in mobile search results is a must. For this reason, Paid Search is a great solution to driving traffic when your pages aren’t showing in organic results on the first couple of pages. The ads take up a majority of the real estate on mobile screens, encouraging clicks. However, it makes me cringe to see mobile search ads leading to landing pages that aren’t mobile-friendly. Clicks and impressions aren’t the metric your brand should be interested in a so it’s important to lead mobile visitors to an appropriate landing page. Depending on the ad messaging and searcher’s intent, an effective page should either have a form that is easy to fill out from a phone or tablet, or it should feature a prominent phone number that directs searchers to a line dedicated to addressing their problem.

Hospital-PPC-mistake

Mobile site or mobile app?

We often hear health care IT or marketing professionals debating whether to invest in a mobile website or a mobile app. We say: why not both? Each platform has its own advantages.

Mobile websites, as we’ve covered, are important for capturing traffic that isn’t necessarily searching for your specific brand. They enable the completion of tasks, such as finding a doctor or easily calling the facility a without having to download the application. An app, on the other hand, might more effectively serve current patients looking to stay on track with a health plan. An interesting article from Forbes introduces a recent report on mobile health apps by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The report examined each app in the Health and Wellness category a more than 43,000 apps a and discovered that fewer than 24,000 were found to include legitimate health functions. Organizing and grading apps based on functions (Instruct, Inform, Collect Data, etc.), the report scored the different apps to determine several areas healthcare apps must address in order ato move from novelty to mainstream.” Among these recommendations are increasing security and more effectively integrating app data with electronic health records.

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Conclusion: Opportunity for health care brands

As our reliance on mobile devices for search increases, so should brands’ commitment to improving the functionality of their mobile websites. We strongly urge digging into analytics to understand what information visitors are most interested in, as well as what areas your brand could improve upon.