Mobile engagement is an extension of ourselves due to its convenience and connectivity. In the healthcare industry, this has resulted in the fact that patients are literally placing their health in their hands. Telemedicine has revolutionized the way patients and doctors share medical advice, and mobile technology is changing how the entire healthcare industry operates. From patients’ ability to have video conferences with their physician and order prescription refills remotely from any location, to even having the ability to track weight loss goals and ovulation cycles, mobile technology is leading the charge around changing the way patients and doctors use mobile to interact.

We have studied user mobile engagement within telehealth and have identified three major trends that are changing the way patients are seeking support and how doctors are interacting with patients.

1. Mobile users turn to their devices for medical treatment.

It is no surprise in our highly digital era that mobile users turn to their devices often for medical treatment. In fact, a report by Mordor Intelligence predicts that telemedicine will be worth more than $66 billion globally by the end of the year 2021.

But, it’s not just patients who are turning to their mobile devices. Healthcare professionals and marketers are also very aware of the value that connected medicine and that data provides. Quality data amplifies the telemedicine opportunity, enabling doctors and marketers to fully understand the individual modern-day patient journey. In a study conducted by Ogury using its consented, first-party data, which looked at the habits of 187,000 telemedicine users across six apps (Doctor on Demand, MDLive, LiveHealth Online, Amwell, Lemonaid, and Your.MD), 94% of users only owned one telemedicine app—proving that their loyalty to one resource was strong. These data points will be paramount for doctors and marketers to evaluate as they look to fully understand the entire patient healthcare journey and better serve each individual mobile user.

The opportunity is not lost on the pharmaceutical industry. Marketers are beginning to work with telehealth providers through companies such as Populus Media, who provides a single point of contact that allows advertisers to place ads and create innovative customer programs across all of the telehealth networks through their exclusive relationships.

2. Telemedicine transforms doctor and patient relationships.

According to IHS Markit research, more than seven million patients today have their health in their hands by using telehealth services. Insights show that mobile users have become more conscious of their health and also want to be comfortable when discussing specific ailments with doctors. Mobile devices give a level of separation between patient and doctor, enhancing patient comfort and control around how they navigate their own personal healthcare journey. Doctors and marketers have also leaned into mobile technology transformation so they can deepen their understanding of individual patient behavior to increase trust and transparency in their relationships.

Some organizations also have access to first-party consented mobile journey data and can get a better understanding of each individual patients’ interests and needs. In a persona study from Ogury using its consented, first-party data, conducted May 2018 to April 2019, which looked at a leading telemedicine app and migraine afflictions, Ogury data showed that the earliest adopters of this leading telemedicine app (37%) actually were ages 45 plus. This indicator disapproves many organization’s assumptions which initially may have thought a younger generation would be early adopters of telemedicine apps given their knowledge on mobile. In fact, we are actually seeing an older generation place more emphasis and importance for efficiency of healthcare via telemedicine apps.

Ogury data also showed that users had discriminant behaviors when it came to using technology for their migraine conditions. Many users who had the leading telemedicine app downloaded on mobile devices and suffered from migraines also had other apps on their phone to help curb the effect that technology itself has on their condition. For example, more than 50% of users also had blue light filter apps, stress reducing meditation apps, as well as other sleep management tools downloaded on their phones to combat the effect that phone lighting and an “always mobile on” culture has on anxiety and sleep levels and could be the main stressors causing migraines. The data help show doctors and organizations how they can better help improve conditions in individual patients as they get to more deeply understand each individual mobile user.

3. Telemedicine users are mindful.

As we know, the relationships between patients and doctors have changed immensely since the implementation of telemedicine. As we explored more deeply, we also found that mobile users are actually becoming more mindful about how they seek help, especially if they are not comfortable with discussing what they are suffering from.

Ogury’s first-party data and study took a look at the percentage of active users using Headspace, a meditation app, and Teladoc, a telemedicine app, the two had very similar trends, with active usage spiking on the same days, as seen below. Therefore, a key finding we noticed was that patients feel more comfortable seeking help via telemedicine apps with certain ailments—a key one being mental health. It’s extremely important to keep this in mind because it indicates that mobile users are mindful as to how they want to seek help when it comes to ailments of a more sensitive nature, including mental health and digestive health issues.

Thanks to the connectivity of mobile, the entire healthcare industry is changing, and now it’s up to organizations to ensure data control is placed firmly in the users’ hands. They deserve to be presented with a clear and informed choice to share or withdraw their data. Telemedicine is becoming an important piece of the puzzle for the American healthcare infrastructure and is here to stay.

  • Jeffrey D. Erb

    Jeffrey D. Erb is the President of McCann Health Engagement, building upon the success he had as President of HealixGlobal, the healthcare specialty media agency within IPG Mediabrands. For over 16 years, Jeff has been a leader in both HCP and Consumer marketing from media and analytics to digital and pricing strategies.

    • Nena Slifer

      Nena Slifer, Senior Category Lead of Healthcare at Ogury, has more than eight years of experience in the healthcare industry. Slifer has spearheaded the growth of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical vertical to one of Ogury’s largest business units.

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