Skip to main content

Another Day, Another App, Another Satisfied Customer

How might health care providers use technology to turn customers' mobile phones into information displays and ordering devices? A few years ago, the NY Times outlined how retailers are doing it...
"(Designer Norma) Kamali is at the forefront of a technological transformation coming to many of the nation’s retailers. They are determined to strengthen the link between their physical stores and the Web, and to use technology to make shopping easier for consumers and more lucrative for themselves.

Cisco Systems, the supplier of networking equipment and services for the Internet, is also a leader in the field. The company’s Mobile Concierge system is capable of connecting customers’ smartphones to retailers’ wireless networks — so a shopper could type “Cheez Whiz” into a cellphone, then pinpoint its location in the store."
Ms. Kamali's boutique installed a technology called ScanLife, "allowing people to scan bar codes on merchandise and obtain details about the clothes through video."

Potential health care applications? Let's see. It could go like this...

Perhaps cancellations and other snafus are making it difficult for your CT department to maintain a full schedule. Time is money as the hum of an empty scanner proves. Encourage patients needing a CT scan - those with flexible schedules - to download an app announcing their willingness to respond to a "We've just had a cancellation. Can you be here in 10 minutes?" message.

Now the patient arrives, lost and disoriented from the long trip in from the parking garage. Where am I? Good question. Waving her phone in front of a bar-coded icon on the wall sends a map and location to her phone.

Now the PATIENT knows where she is. You might also benefit from knowing.  And of course your CT department is also interested in smoother workflow and improved customer service, so...

Create an app to give the department a 10-minute "heads-up" prior to the patient's arrival. Patients who sign up and download the app can be detected as soon as they set foot in the hospital. Their paperwork is ready before they walk in the department's door. They're greeted by name.

What if she gets lost on her way to CT? Create an app that recognizes her current location in the facility and delivers turn-by-turn directions on her phone. Sort of a private-label, in-house MapQuest.

Need to deliver just-in-time teaching information or post-procedure instructions? Scan the appropriate procedure or diagnosis bar code and download a short teaching video to her phone.

You know when the patient arrived, now use that same app to track when she leaves, generating "time-in-the-door to time-out-the-door" data as important additions to your productivity and patient satisfaction metrics.

Once the system flags the patient's departure, send an alert to the referring physician saying something like "Thanks for your referral. Your report will be ready in 30 minutes."

As a thank-you to the patient for keeping your schedule full, send her a real-time electronic coupon for a free latte at your in-lobby Starbucks. The bar code allows for instant redemption and tracking.

Your patient needs reminders for follow-up visits, vaccinations, mammograms, cancer screenings? Apps, apps and more apps.

And of course nothing in a hospital would be complete without a committee to discuss it all. Wondering if this conference room is available for an impromptu meeting and for how long? Point your phone at the room number and and the embedded bar code will tell you.

And so ends another day at "Point & Click Hospital."

Developers include Cisco Systems with its Mobile Concierge system and I.B.M with a product called Presence.

The Sam's Club division of Wal-Mart, Crate & Barrel, Kerr Drug and Disney stores are among the retailers deploying mobile technology, with major roll-outs starting as far back as 2011.


Popular posts from this blog

Being Disrupted Ain't Fun. Deal With It.

Articles about disrupting healthcare, particularly those analogizing, say, Tesla's example with healthcare's current state, are frequently met with a chorus of (paraphrasing here) "Irrelevant! Cars are easy, healthcare is hard." You know, patients and doctors as examples of "information asymmetry" and all that. Well, let me ask you this: assuming you drive a car with a traditional internal combustion engine, how much do you know about the metallurgy in your car's engine block? I'll bet the answer is: virtually nothing. In fact it's probably less than you know about your own body's GI tract. Yet somehow, every day, us (allegedly) ignorant people buy and drive cars without help from a cadre of experts. Most of us do so and live happily ever after (at least until the warranty expires. Warranties...another thing healthcare could learn from Tesla.) Now, us free range dummies - impatient with information asymmetry - are storming healthcar…

Becoming Consumer Friendly In Five Easy Steps...Or Not

An article at offers hospitals 5 steps to becoming more consumer friendly.

If you still think there's a secret sauce to your hospital becoming more "consumer friendly," these 5 steps are as good a place to start as any.  Unfortunately, it's a little like that old Steve Martin comedy bit where he says he'll teach you how to be rich. The first step is to go find a million dollars.

Step 1 from the article is realizing that "...a Medicare beneficiary with chronic conditions is different from a young mom who brings her kids in for an annual check-up." This is market segmentation for beginners, and, yes, one size decidedly does not fit all. I'm sure your marketing team's been saying this for a while.

Steps 2-5: have a strategy, metrics, a champion and resources. OK. Hard to argue with any of those.

But those things, alone or together, won't overcome culture. They're important components to be sure, but insufficient without a …