Over the past few months, consumers and professionals alike have all been wondering a simple question.
Where is mobile health going? Or better put, are health tracking apps and wearables going to more formally integrate within traditional client care (or patient care) models?
There’s no question that consumer demand for health tracking apps and wearables is more than just a fad, with analysts estimating that global shipments for wearables poised to reach a whopping 411 million units in 2020 ($34B).
Accompany that with Accenture’s survey which identified that roughly 33% of consumers were now using health tracking apps and you can see that it’s about time we have a serious conversation about what to do with mobile health and how it fits within your business.
You Could Sit on Your Hands and Do Nothing
It’s hard to scan the news on any major outlet without coming across a doomsday article painting a bleak picture of Fitbit, which if you aren’t familiar, is the undisputed leader in the health tracking market, boasting 2015 annual sales of almost $2B.
Here’s a good one I found this week …
For sure, you could bet against the continued rise of mobile health and lump device manufacturers in with the GoPros of the world, but that is a dangerous proposition due to a key fact:
In a recent survey KPMG discovered that roughly 65% of providers were leveraging virtual care programs, with 25% of the total group stating that their virtual care programs were “financially sustainable and improving efficiency, patient volumes, and loyalty…”
It’s true, health practitioners are flocking to mhealth as they look for ways to keep up with the 21st century consumer. We are a connected society generating incredible amounts of data each day, now with a way in which information can effectively be captured and transmitted to a professional. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of these new opportunities?
The reason device manufacturers are under scrutiny is that they have been pushing consumer products without articulating a clear strategy with how they plan to integrate these tools within the traditional frameworks of care providers.
As a result, most professionals are forced to leverage one of the following models …
1. Manually log into each of their clients’ health tracking apps in-between visits to see how they are doing --> very time intensive!
2. Wait for their next client meeting and go through the app with them in-person on their phone --> very reactive!
Does any of this sound familiar?
Leveraging Tools to Strengthen Client Care & Your Business
Health practitioners and organizations are adopting technology with the hopes of filling the void within the continuum of care, and do so in a way that can help them deliver premium value.
Within the for mentioned survey, KPMG also discovered that 25% of the health practitioners using virtual care programs stated that their efforts were “financially sustainable and improving efficiency, patient volumes, and loyalty…”.
With that in mind, some of the key drivers of adoption were noted as being...
- Increase Patient Volumes and Loyalty (29%)
- Care Coordination of High Risk Patients (17%)
- Reduce Costs for Access to Medical Specialists (17%)
- Meaningful Use and Payer Incentives for Adoption (13%)
- Patient Requests/Consumer Demand (13%)
We’ve seen firsthand that professionals are achieving significant client AND business outcomes through the use of technology, but it’s not surprising that they turn to health tracking initially as a way to more effectively scale their client list.
If you are managing a group of people, don’t you think it would make your life easier if you had insights into who was and was NOT adhering to your advice and recommendations?
Health tracking tools can make your life easier if you identify the proper ways to incorporate them into your business.
1. Identify the device that works best for your business.
Fitbit is certainly the 900 lb. gorilla in the health tracking space, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best for your business.
Consider newer devices, like the InBody BAND, which allows you to incorporate body composition data, or platforms like Garmin if you work with individuals who are runners.
Educate yourself on some of the best devices that are relevant for your population and stick with what you know.
[BONUS: 2 of our favorite tracking devices on the market]
- InBody BAND …
For its body composition tracking, 5-day battery, and passive sleep tracking
- Fitbit Blaze …
For it automatically classifying activity, 5-day battery, and water resistance
2. Picking the Right Model
We regularly encounter two distinct models professionals are using to integrate mobile health within their business, but both open new revenue streams for the business AND allow you to provide something tangible.
A. Premium Offering
Health tracking tools allow you to provide a new level of wellness care within your business, and as such, it is absolutely reasonable to reflect this enhanced offering with your pricing.
You can “give” a wearable to all new customers and integrate a more data-centric approach to your model – i.e. “let’s see you average X minutes of activity each week, or focus on reaching a certain water consumption level, etc.”
As a part of this program you can make sure to regularly add a data-focused touchpoint to provide a human touch to the digital experience these devices provide - this regular touchpoint is even more vital in these virtual care scenarios.
Did you know that based on consumer health data collected through the Nudge app ...
Users are 3.3x more likely to be engaged in health tracking after 120 days when working with a professional, compared to consumers simply using health tracking tools on their own.
The results are multi-faceted, but aside from obviously being able to introduce a premium offering, you unlock the ability to use data to prove outcomes and illustrate ROI, which you can also use in your sales and marketing materials.
B. Health Maintenance Plan
Conversely, you may be looking for a way to provide long term value and keep someone engaged with their wellness after you’ve helped them reach some type of desired outcome.
Consider using mobile health to launch a health maintenance plan whereby you can continue providing value and continue working with someone with a more low-touch approach.
What are the benefits of this model?
You can leverage an inexpensive, RECURRING offering that allows you to keep clients and patients tethered to your business over the longterm.
In our experience we’ve seen success with low-touch virtual care offerings ranging between $30-80/month, depending on a number of variables, such as number of touchpoints per month.
As an example, the Osteopathic Center for Family Medicine in Maine used mobile health to launch a 6-month, low touch offering consisting of:
- an initial face-to-face meeting to identify goals
- on-going virtual communication and assessment based on the participant using health tracking apps and devices
- regular newsletter providing ongoing education
3. Make it Easy on Yourself
Up until recently it could have been tedious and time-intensive to incorporate mobile health into your business, but that’s not the case anymore.
Gone are the days when you needed to log into everyone’s different health tracking accounts.
Look for tools, like the Nudge platform, that allow you to easily access data from wearables, and manage touchpoints with client or patients.
These tools can streamline your workflow and allow you to better manage your growing business, regardless of what health tracking platforms you encounter along the way.
Over the next few years we will continue to see these devices become a more integral part of client care, so it’s worth taking the time to identify which tools would best fit within business moving forward.
Embrace mobile health’s growing market adoption as it empowers you to strengthen your offerings, open new revenue streams, and leverage data to prove the effectiveness of your offering.