St. Luke’s Health System in Kansas City knows we live in a mobile-first world. As reported in Internet Health Management, the 10-hospital network is developing a powerful app that manages patient needs ranging from scheduling appointments to navigating the main hospital.

With the app, patients will get more control over their health, and St. Luke’s will offer more services that patients might not be aware of, such as push notifications about wellness classes. The new app will consolidate a number of mobile apps into one seamless experience.

My take: St. Luke’s knows that going mobile is not a nice to do, but an inevitability. Two major catalysts are compelling healthcare systems such as St. Luke’s to up their mobile game:

  • Consumer behavior. More than half of smartphone users gather healthcare information on their phones, and both patients and physicians are increasingly comfortable using tablets and phones to search for care, refer physicians, and manage their health.
  • Google. One of the world’s most powerful brands continues to push consumers and businesses toward a mobile-first experience. The latest Google algorithm change ranks search listings for businesses (including healthcare systems) based on the mobile version of their content — even for listings that are shown to desktop users.

Healthcare systems are responding to the rise of mobile in a number of ways. Organizations such as St. Luke’s are going “all in” with app-based experiences. Others are employing responsive design to make their desktop experiences mobile friendly while not necessarily offering an app. The St. Luke’s approach may not be for everyone — it’s certainly a more complicated undertaking. But the St. Luke’s super app, when launched, will help St. Luke’s in a few important ways:

  • Manage wellness care more easily by offering patients on the go up-to-date content on programs such as exercise and dieting, which is crucial as healthcare systems response to billing practices that reward patient wellness.
  • Treat healthcare more like a retail experience, offering easier ways for patients to get access to physicians and then review their records, much the same way that anyone on Amazon gets instant access their customer footprint. The app will also help patients improve the experience inside the facility, with features such as ordering meals.

At SIM Partners we know how to help healthcare systems flourish in an on-demand, mobile world. Contact us to learn how to manage your local presence and improve patient access through mobile.