A growing number of organizations across industries are developing mobile-friendly services and solutions now that mobile browsing exceeds desktop browsing. The healthcare industry is not exempt from this shifting landscape, but many healthcare organizations are lagging behind. In this guest post, Chris Byers, CEO of a company that offers an online form and data-collection platform, gives hospitals ways they can catch up with the mobile movement and connect with patients.


Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conducted a 2015 study in which 83% of healthcare providers surveyed said they felt strongly that their organization should deploy mobile devices. The same study determined mobile healthcare solutions had a positive impact on patient engagement and helped providers achieve over 20% in savings in areas such as resource utilization and preventive support care.

Although many healthcare facilities are behind the mobile movement, it’s not too late to start using mobile technology to provide convenient, accessible healthcare for patients. Here are a few ways to connect with patients, wherever they are.

Healthcare apps

The previously mentioned HIMSS study indicates that only 31% of healthcare facilities have an organization-specific app. Considering over 50% of smartphone users gather health-related information through mobile healthcare apps, there is enormous room for expansion in this arena. The growing adoption of these apps has benefits for both patients and medical staff.

Apps allow patients to become more engaged in their own care. Many of these apps are focused on the patient and are specialized in tracking health factors like diet, exercise, pregnancy or sleep. The iPhone’s native “Health Data” app is one example, tracking various health measures through automatic syncing or manual entry.

These apps can also convey serious benefits for hospitals by providing patients with easier access to their own health information. With near-instantaneous access to a patient’s medical data, physicians are able to consider treatment and condition histories when making care decisions, improving evidence-based practice standards in real time.

Overall, healthcare apps provide a more efficient and convenient way for patients and medical professionals to communicate and log information, resulting in top-of-the-line care at reduced costs.

Text communications

Text (or SMS) communication is another fantastic tool for mobile patient engagement, especially considering 95% of American adults now own a mobile phone.

According to HIMSS, 57% of healthcare providers are already using text communications to keep patients informed on their appointments and prescriptions. These communications take on even more importance once patients leave the hospital, as they become responsible for their ongoing care.

Patients typically receive endless instructions and paperwork upon being discharged from the hospital, making it difficult for even the most attentive patients to remember detailed treatment and prescription requirements. Text message reminders of post-treatment instructions might help patients recall the information onslaught they received at discharge. These mobile communications are an enormous help to hospitals seeking to reduce readmissions and avoid penalties from federal regulations.

Mobile-friendly healthcare forms

Healthcare facilities use countless forms: patient registration and referrals, record releases, equipment ordering, incident reporting, lead generation and many others. It may seem counterintuitive to add another form to that list, but sending out a patient satisfaction survey will demonstrate you value opinions of your patients and you’re interested in improving the quality of the care you provide. Here are a few sample questions to consider:

  1. How would you rate the service you received from your medical provider?
  2. How would you rate the trustworthiness of the medical advice you received?
  3. What feedback do you have from your visit that could help us improve your experience next time?

Using HIPAA compliant, mobile-friendly forms helps medical facilities create better, more engaging experiences for patients. Allowing patients to fill out these forms from their mobile device provides added convenience, and having a form that’s mobile-responsive will make patients more likely to fill it out.

Technological advances are changing the world around us. It’s up to healthcare facilities to adapt and keep up with their patients’ evolving lifestyle or be left behind.

Chris Byers is the CEO of Formstack, an Indianapolis-based company offering an online form and data-collection platform.

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