The healthcare industry looks much different than it did a few short years ago. In just under a decade, digital charts have replaced traditional patient records. Doctors routinely consult on cases for patients around the globe. Mobile has also put some of the power back in the hands of the patient with smartphone applications and convenient on-the-go prescription renewal options.
Mobile health (or mHealth) is now a $1.3 billion industry, and it’s expected to grow to over $10.2 billion by 2018. What does this mean for your healthcare company and how can you use mobile to your advantage? One recent study suggests that the best mobile health strategies are backed by strong market research campaigns. Here’s how you can use market research to develop effective mHealth initiatives for your patients.
Get to know your target market and their mobile behaviors
As you’re contemplating creating a mobile health application for your patients, it’s important to really take the time to get to know your audience. At the most basic level, your target audience may consist of patients with a particular condition. For example, your healthcare business may be in the process of creating a mobile application that facilitates health management for diabetes patients.
But it’s important to take things a step further. Conducting a market research campaign can help you uncover more data on critical metrics such as demographics and how patients prefer to access information on mobile devices. For example, someone who’s over 65 is likely to use mobile differently than someone in their 20s. Someone living day to day with Type 1 diabetes may have significantly different needs than a pre-Type 2 diabetic. Many companies fail with their mobile initiatives because they don’t take the time to understand how their audience is using the technology and what services should be the priority. You can use the data you gather with your market research initiative to tailor your mobile app so it more effectively meets the needs of your target market.
Find out which features are most important to your audience
After you’ve familiarized yourself with your target audience and their mobile behaviors, it’s time to find out what they’re actually looking for in a mobile application. Ask your audience which features are the most useful for them and how your company can best meet their needs with mobile.
It’s important to keep in mind that individuals use mobile apps for different purposes. Some prefer to use a mobile health app as a learning tool, so access to helpful and informative content would be a priority for them. Others may be interested in actually using an application to help monitor their health over time, so a robust tracking system would be a useful feature for them. A well-crafted market research campaign can help you find out which features are the most important to your target audience. With mobile initiatives, a tightly targeted audience profile and clearly selected features are the key to successful campaigns.
Mobile has changed the face of healthcare in a few short years, and the industry will continue to evolve with technology over time. If you’re interested in developing a mobile initiative for your business, consider using market research to your advantage. Has your healthcare company been contemplating mHealth solutions?