Mobile App or Mobile WebMany hospitals today find themselves stuck at a crossroads – whether to invest in a mobile app or mobile web? With no proven path to mHealth success, many just don’t know where to place that first step. Do we simply convert our website to mobile, or do we go through the costly process of building an app? With a mountain of factors to consider, from money to connectivity and most importantly, meeting the needs of the patient, this is an incredibly loaded question, but in today’s mobile society, it’s one all hospitals will have to answer.

The Ease of Mobile Web

Today’s consumers spend 52 hours looking for health information online.  A comScore report says smartphones and tablets combined now account for 6o percent of all online traffic up from 50 percent a year ago. Healthcare providers need to reach these users quickly and consistently. Mobile websites are a great starting point for that. By implementing a mobile-friendly website, hospitals can use current content and functions to enable patients’ access to useful information on their smartphone.  Compared to typical custom app development, mobile websites are less expensive. Yet, this is common knowledge. A mobile website is important, duh. So if a hospital sees that, why would they need a native app?

The Engagement of Mobile Apps

Three words. Continuous patient engagement. With HCAHPS surveys and readmission penalties, patient satisfaction and engagement have become crucial factors for hospital success. Mobile websites, while great for general information seekers, are not good engagement tools. Mobile apps are. Leaving aside the fact that mobile users spend 86% of their phone time in apps, a mobile app can:

  • Target specific conditions and patient needs;
  • Provide interactive tools and cutting-edge functionality;
  • Run smoothly without an Internet connection;
  • Offer a much easier access and friendlier UI.

Case in point: Tanner Urgent Care app. The app pulls dynamic wait times for all the Tanner Urgent Care and ER facilities. A mobile website can display this information too, after a few minutes of typing and waiting for pages to load, but if a patient is looking for an ER on the go, they can’t afford to wait that long. With apps like Tanner’s, this crucial information is available without hassle (along with convenient GPS directions.) Needless to say, with a convenient mobile tool like that, patients will be more satisfied with their experience.

Mobile App or Mobile Web? – Do Both!

The truth is, in today’s mobile world, hospitals need both mobile apps and a mobile website. Patients expect a variety of access options and tools.  A health system competing for patients cannot overlook these options.  Mobile app development can make hospital leaders death grip their wallets in terror, yet providers can still engage their patients with apps without betting the building.

Many hospitals have already done so, using the MobileSmith platform to create many engaging, and in multiple cases award-winning, mobile health apps for their patients, without breaking the bank. For providers, the question isn’t whether to go with a mobile website or a mobile app, the question is will the sweeping mobile advances through healthcare leave them behind?

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