The widespread adoption of connected health offers an exciting outlook for healthcare professionals and patients across the board. Many healthcare providers dream of the day when technology solves our biggest obstacles in managing care and maintaining long-term health.
Can wearable technology provide patients and their care teams with important metrics for their unique treatment plan? Can a mobile device help motivate patients to take their medication as prescribed or report adverse events to the care team in real-time? Can telemedicine help us consult and connect with patients digitally, so we can build a better rapport with patients we may never meet face-to-face?
Beware of the Shiny New Thing: Patient Portals
Some connected health concepts are more viable than others. Although patient and provider portals are widespread, ask almost anyone about actual usage and you'll find engagement rates are pitiful. At best, if providers can convince patients or healthcare professionals to sign up, you'll discover that barely 5% are using the platform after the first month. It will take some knowledge and understanding of what's required to truly engage users if you want to reach mainstream adoption and save thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted resources. Some solutions may look like the shiny new thing, while it's simply a waste of time and money.
The Blooming Age of PDHPs
Don't get me wrong, we’re seeing more and more patient digital health platforms (PDHPs) that are creating a new environment for consumers to interact with their own health. Platforms like Apple’s HealthKit, QualcommLife 2Net, and Google’s Android Wear are taking the hopeful steps toward integrating health into our smartphone and technology addictions. If the average smartphone user checks their phone 110 times a day, think about the progress we could make if their health were on the list of notifications or status updates.
Progress, but Not Perfection
On a more generalized scale, the results of the mHealth movement have been impressive. Nielsen reported that in January of 2014, an estimated 46 million people used fitness apps like Fitbit and Nike+ Running. That’s a whopping one-third of smartphone owners! But these users are generally in good health, using the apps for an extra push toward their fitness goals. For specialty pharmacies and other entities dedicated to managing existing health conditions, it’s not quite a victory.
Specialty Pharmacy’s Big Break
So what can specialty pharmacies do to ride the connected health wave? Specialty pharmacy patients have distinct and complex care needs that require special coordination and support. For example, specialty pharmacies may need to find out how patients are doing at week four of their medication regimen to ensure patients aren't facing unusual side effects or drug-drug interactions. Likewise, specialty pharmacies have the opportunity to help prescribers achieve patient-facing Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU2) requirements such as VDT, TOC, and secure messaging. The name of the game is mobile engagement.
What a coincidence – our smartphones, computers, and tablets can be engagement powerhouses. A key to specialty pharmacy’s role in connected health will increasingly be to open the doors for greater patient and provider engagement. However, successful specialty pharmacies with look to mobile solutions with push-web technology and forget about outdated portals. Automated patient-initiated engagement driven by mobile technology, that's the next big thing and it's available today.
It's time for specialty pharmacies to build a mobile strategy and secure your place in the connected health world.
How Legacy DNA Can Help?
Your mHealth strategy is mission critical to your bottom line. We help specialty pharmacies grow, differentiate, and win. Legacy DNA's Aster and FHSPRM award-winning team has been serving the specialty pharmacy industry for over five years. Our scientific and creative approach to specialty pharmacy marketing has helped startups and mature brands build credibility, visibility, and revenue. Let us help you navigate the new healthcare landscape. Contact us at attention@legacy-DNA.com.