Mobile Strategy

It’s easy to find statistics reinforcing the notion that health care is a digital laggard industry. One of the latest figures comes from a poll of 2,300 chief information officers (CIOs) by Robert Half Technology. As reported by Brian Dolan of, 36% of CIOs at health care companies said that their organization had no mobile strategy, the highest of any sector.

Improving the health care industry’s ability to harness the power of mobile requires a communal effort among marketing and communications professionals to perpetuate a knowledgeable conversation about its benefits. The more we educate consumers, providers, the C-suite, and internal legal and regulatory teams about mobile, the quicker we will see innovation.

To spur the conversation, here are three questions to ask yourself about your mobile marketing strategy:

1. Is it disruptive?

Who are digital disruptors, and how do they think differently?

In his book Digital Disruption, Forrester Research VP James McQuivey states that the path to success in digital disciplines starts with a digital disruption mindset. He explains that marketing teams historically spend time answering the question, “How can we make a new product that we can successfully sell?” Digital disruptors spin that question on its side and instead ask, “How can we give people something they really want?” The focus is on benefits, not barriers.

In health care, that means a relentless pursuit of improving patient care through the unique features of mobile devices. It is evident in trends such as the advent of electronic medical records, which experts predict will become more widespread and accepted this year by making advancements to overcome privacy and security concerns. This post from also describes the types of apps that physicians expect to use in the next 12 months, which could be used as a de facto checklist for would-be disruptors.

2. Is it adding to the noise?

Most firms proudly point to their mobile apps and proclaim, ‘Hey, we’re digital!’ While they may be driving incremental revenue, all they have done is bolt on another touchpoint. Real digital businesses go much further, integrating the two sides of digital strategy: digital customer experience and digital operational excellence.

This quote comes from the white paper Six Steps to Become a Digital Business, and authors Nigel Fenwick and Martin Gill might as well have dedicated it to health care. We are as infamous as any other industry for claiming to be “digital” while generating an onslaught of apps, of which only a minority ultimately meet the needs of patients and providers. According to Quantia MD, 37% of doctors still have no idea what apps are available. And is it any wonder? There are over 43,000 apps claiming to be medical or health-related, yet recent research shows that only 40% are “truly related” to health care (read Alexandra Sifferlin in Time and Kevin Pho in USA Today).

Don’t add to the noise, and don’t limit yourself to a “bolt on” approach. Plan your mobile strategy to meet the needs of those who really matter in health care.

3. Is it focused on you or on patients/providers?

Digital businesses understand that if they are to win in the age of the customer, customer experience is their only differentiator.
(Six Steps to Become a Digital Business)

The user design of your apps (and/or mobile optimized sites, as the case may be) tells a lot about you. Have you created valuable experiences for patients and providers that can be clearly used in the context of their everyday experience? You, your CEO and your board of directors are not the target users of your mobile applications. So don’t design that way! Focus on the user, not on your personal preferences. Imagine yourself in their shoes as they interact with the experience that you are creating.

What do you think? What examples have you seen of effective health care mobile strategies?

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn: