Survey Points to 4 Things Patients Want in a Mobile Healthcare Experience

By Lee Jones

Think about the last time you communicated with a doctor’s office. Did you use your smartphone?

If so, you’re in the majority: 65% of those who received medical care in the last 12 months used a mobile device when interacting with their healthcare provider, more than three times as many as the 16% who used a laptop and 13% who used a desktop. However, they also made it clear that they would like that mobile experience to be better.

These figures, drawn from Gozio’s Q4 2023 consumer survey, offer just one example of how consumer technology preferences have evolved—especially when it comes to the healthcare experience.

Yet despite the enormous potential for mobile health apps to reshape healthcare delivery— boosting health outcomes, revenues, and patient satisfaction—most U.S. healthcare organizations could be doing more. While patients crave digital access that is streamlined, convenient and efficient, just 17% of patients believe digital access to care and service has gotten better since the pandemic. One of the biggest barriers to digital satisfaction: Healthcare providers offer too many tools across too many platforms and prioritize web-based offerings over mobile solutions.

To boost mobile engagement, healthcare leaders need to lean into what patients want, digitally, in 2024.

Mobile preferences

The vast majority of Americans now own a smartphone, including 96% of young adults as well as 61% of those 65 and older. So, it’s unsurprising that mobile market size is projected to reach $872 billion by 2032.

But what sets apart the hospitals with the highest digital engagement from those with the least engaged patients? It comes down to a platform that’s so compelling, patients want to use it again and again.

What makes a mobile experience “optimal” may vary slightly by age and generation, but across generations, a unified experience is preferred. As many as 89% of consumers said the ability to manage their care on a single, unified platform is important, according to the Gozio survey. It’s the one thing consumers across generations agree on when it comes to digital preferences. Yet 57% said they are currently using more than one platform, website, or app used to manage their healthcare. Half of patients also agree they’d prefer the platform to be accessible on mobile. This suggests health systems that offer a unified mobile experience can win over patients.

Providing the digital experiences consumers most want

How can healthcare leaders elevate their organization’s digital approach? The survey results point to four things patients value most in their mobile healthcare experience, which can inform a healthcare organization’s plans:

  1. Good information, on demand. What’s most appealing about mobile to healthcare consumers is convenience and the ability to get information or do things quickly. When developing a mobile consumer-facing app, consider which features patients will use most, such as appointment booking, access to health data, appointment check-in and so forth.
  2. Better wayfinding. GPS can help patients get to a hospital, but what happens once they’ve arrived at a sprawling campus? Facility-specific wayfinding that offers blue-dot navigation of a hospital campus has been received favorably by thousands of patients and is often one of the most utilized features of an all-inclusive digital platform.
  3. Premium add-ons. While on-demand lab results and real-time prescription refill requests topped the list of “most desired” features among Gozio survey respondents, what can really make a hospital or health system stand out is the addition of digital ancillary offerings. For example, 47% of respondents rated the ability to engage in a virtual visit without leaving the app as “extremely” or “very” important. Patients also indicated interest in features like symptom checkers and live chat. Adding tools like these to a single, unified mobile platform can make a healthcare organization stand out.
  4. Responsive to consumers’ changing needs. The things consumers want from their healthcare digital experience aren’t merely fads or flashes in the pan. Instead, they reflect a desire to reduce uncertainty and wasted time in their healthcare journey. When hospitals fail to upgrade their tech to continually elevate the mobile app experiences they provide, they risk becoming marginalized by competitors that have a track record of success in the digital engagement arena, such as retail healthcare providers and independent urgent care clinics. Remaining relevant means being open to adding new functionality as consumer preferences change. The right mobile platform will allow you to do that easily.

As healthcare grows more competitive, health systems will need to find ways to stand out. A compelling, patient-centered mobile app can help to improve patient experience, satisfaction, outcomes, and engagement—all of which can ultimately boost profitability.

Lee Jones is chief product officer for Gozio Health. With over 25 years of experience, Lee excels at helping rapid growth companies scale through building relationships, developing technology and products, engaging new markets, and building strong, effective teams.