service line marketing

Does your service line have its own app? How about your surgical procedures?

What? I never thought of that before….why would someone download an app for a tonsillectomy or knee replacement surgery?

I’ve interacted with hundreds of hospitals and health systems over the last few years and have been underwhelmed with how they have approached mobile. The typical view is to create the “General Hospital App” and provide patients access to their health record portal and be done with it. There is some value with this approach in that they are introducing the community to their health system, marketing the health services they are offering, and maybe adding a physician directory to promote their practitioners. But studies suggest that engagement with these apps is lacking. And why?

The engaged patient

Because you interact with your health system when you are sick! Either you have a chronic condition like diabetes or you have an unplanned acute episode such as an injury or illness that leads to surgery, recovery and rehab. The general hospital app is nice but can you find specific medical info on your diagnosis? Can it remind you/help guide you through a prescribed “pre-op” procedure to make sure you are ready for your surgery?

Instead, think about providing your patients with a mobile app when they need it the most—when they are coming to see you because they need care.

The responsive provider

I have seen some progressive health systems successfully delivering effective mobile apps to very specific patient populations in service lines such as orthopedics, maternity and bariatrics, to name a few.

Think about it. When you are healthy you have little desire to engage with your health system.  Why would you want to? It’s not like “hey, it’s been a month since I was reviewing my health system’s app, let me see if they have opened any new clinics or new advancements in a service line just in case I might need it one day…” NO. It’s out-of-sight out-of-mind, the way it should be. But if you get injured or contract some type of illness NOW you want to absorb yourself into your condition.

Right away, you want to get educated on your injury or illness. Why did I get it? What are the symptoms? What are the treatment options? How do I recover or rehab? When will I be healthy again? Who is my care team? How do I contact them? If there is a surgery, what things do I need to know/do before and after surgery?

Today’s service line marketing strategy

Currently, health systems typically provide this info via printed collateral. In today’s digital age, why not provide this in an app instead? People frequently lose these documents, and printouts can’t remind you to take your pill like an alert on your smartphone can.

From the health system’s perspective, this type of app can drive better adherence to care instructions that patients need to follow when outside of their facility, both pre- and post-op. This means fewer cancelled or rescheduled procedures, fewer preventable readmissions, and improved HCAHPS scores!

Interested in learning more? Be sure to sign up for part 1 of our Service Line Webinar Series below: