Mobile healthcare applications have started to gain momentum, particularly over the past year, and could see explosive growth in the coming years. Organizations have started to embrace mobile strategy within their core IT portfolio, and driven purely by the opportunities offered by the growing market, I believe the next big thing will be speech-enabled applications. The introduction of “SIRI” by Apple has created a lot of synergy for building similar speech-enabled applications, particularly within the healthcare space.
The following five healthcare areas could benefit tremendously from these applications, thereby taking the mobile market to the next level and improving the overall quality and delivery of care:
1. Doctor’s Office: With the number of insured members increasing due to Obamacare, providers, especially doctors, are faced with limited resources to tend to patients and provide them with quality care. Speech-enabled apps could provide them with a list of patients to be seen for the day and the reason for visit while also identifying new patients. Also, these apps would help in identifying the closest pharmacy location to the patient, prescribing medications, and providing alerts on certain medications based on the patient history among other criteria. More importantly, doctors could use the app to dictate notes and thereby expedite the claims submission with minimal intervention from office staff.
2. Pharmacy: Pharmacies could benefit from having applications that would provide a voice reminder for refills, pickups and other alerts. The application could trigger authorizations for prescription refills with simply member approval, thereby reducing the burden on the member to call the doctor’s office to obtain one. Most patients do not take prescriptions at the prescribed time intervals due to various reasons and thus increase the risk on their health. Speech-enabled apps could help remind patients, keep the schedule intact and notify the doctor of the status.
3. Home Health Care: This market can benefit from leveraging these apps for various segments such as disease management and case management. Chronic disease management apps that monitor patients on a daily basis and provide regular feedbacks to the care management organization would provide additional insight that could help treat the patients more effectively. Obesity has been one of the biggest reasons for rising healthcare costs and apps that can provide targeted solutions to this problem could help save millions of lives.
4. Member & Provider Services: Payer organizations can build speech-enabled apps that could provide regular updates on claim status, member benefits, provider notifications, smart call routing etc., which could reduce a lot of frustration on both sides. Payers could also use this as an effective selling tool to engage their patients more effectively, thereby increasing customer value and referrals to new members.
5. Health Call Centers: Health call centers engage highly skilled nurse practitioners who engage with their patients on a regular basis to provide the required care. However, most of this info can be provided more effectively through voice-enabled apps so that members can listen to the messages at their leisure. The high call volume can be significantly reduced by proactively reaching patients before they make the call. Based on the patient needs, the specific content could be played back when required.
We are at the crossroads of leveraging mobility to improve the patient care cycle. And, I believe speech-enabled mobile applications could very well be the next wave that will offer immense benefits and an improved experience to all stakeholders, starting with the patient.