The fast growth of the digital health industry in India due to COVID-19 has led to the reshaping of customer health experiences. Innovations like mobile healthcare apps, telehealth services, e-pharma services are witnessing higher adoption rates and transforming the digital health customer experience.
Lack of awareness regarding the use of mhealth apps, uncertainty about apps’ working efficiency, security issues, etc. were the root cause of its wavering development, prior to the pandemic. During lockdowns, nearly 67% of Indians felt comfortable receiving medical advice over calls and video sessions, according to a Royal Philips survey.
The healthcare industry has shifted towards a patient-centric model to deliver convenient and meaningful experiences from the patient’s home. Below are the top five trends that are shaping digital health customer experiences:
Customers are relying on mHealth apps
Mobile health apps in India have witnessed an increase in downloads due to changes in lifestyle, increased interest in fitness & wellness programs and to track & monitor a variety of health data — sleep patterns, calorie intake, physical activity, etc. Followed by the telehealth segment, the mHealth segment is expected to dominate the Indian market by reaching approximately USD 1.87 Bn by 2024.
Mobile health apps in India such as Practo, PharmEasy, 1mg, Medlife, cure.fit etc. allow customers to order healthy food, buy medicines with discounts, receive health tips and attend virtual doctor consultations by staying at home. Even though mHealth apps are general wellness related, the number of condition management apps are likely to increase with customer engagement. Moreover, the growth of the mHealth segment will ensure cost effective healthcare services that will prompt the consumers to use health apps. With the rise of mobile health apps, more benefits are likely to be incorporated such as in the case of health emergencies where an app can send the location of the needy to the hospital, thus saving ambulance drivers’ time in following directions.
Increase in Demand for Personalized Care
Customers have begun to feel empowered and valued through wearable devices and other digital health tools as it is enabling them to take control of their health. With electronic health records in hand, healthcare organizations are leveraging patients’ health records that are helping in optimizing the digital health customer experience. Predicting problems and providing solutions before they bother the patients has become the new model. This has paved the way for hyper personalization. By analyzing an individual’s DNA, it allows HCPs to monitor patients’ medication, provide health tips and helps them to diagnose diseases early. For instance, DNAfit offers genome-personalized health advice, workout plans, etc. that help customers in framing a daily routine. Apple Healthkit also functions in a similar fashion to personalize healthcare services as patient data is collected, compared and mined to result in a customized health experience.
Younger generation has more trust in tech companies
Around 32% of gen X and 43% of millennial are open to receive virtual healthcare, according to an Accenture survey. As the younger generation provides active feedback to the healthcare organizations, examining their behaviour can provide significant insights that might help mending the existing gaps between HCOs and customers. According to a recent Deloitte survey, empathy and reliability are the two factors that customers expect from healthcare providers. This shows that when customers are given the option to own their personal data related to health, healthcare organizations are more likely to attract customers. Considering how consumers are sensitive about their data, data interoperability is likely to help organizations in meeting consumer needs. In addition to this, increase in digital touchpoints are likely to multiply to meet diverse consumer needs.
Increased Demand for Value-added services
According to an Accenture survey, around 57% of customers are open to remote virtual care. This shows the increasing appreciation of real-time assistance and contactless healthcare. Healthcare providers are likely to produce more value-added services by enhancing patient engagement, data collection, digital health channels. Traditional ways of treatment will change when HCOs leverage patient data from technologies and smart devices. Expert advice of HCPs in developing value-added services will further assist in producing accurate solutions for patients. Consumer demand for value-added services shows the increasing expectations from the digital health industry that will transform the customer experiences, as the leading health organizations are likely to produce more digitally enabled health solutions. Post COVID-19 when people begin to socialize, the contactless health services will be useful in cases of health emergencies, or for old people who find it hard to travel.
Consumers are open to omnichannel virtual care
Be it buying of medicines, or keeping a regular check on health, the digital health tools such as mHealth apps, fitness trackers, etc have been adopted by consumers to satiate their healthcare needs. Openness to various digital health channels shows the strengthening of consumer trust. Recently Apple launched Apple Watch series 6 that allows users to take on-demand readings of blood oxygen level anytime. Its potential to give readings anytime and anywhere reflects customers’ increase in usage of digital health tools. Apart from tracking steps, fitness trackers also have advanced health features like, heart-rate monitors, SpO2 monitors, sleep tracking, etc. Web apps and chatbots are being used by healthcare organizations to assist people with health-related problems. Digital healthtech company Your.MD uses chatbot and web app to help customers get personalized health information. The future of the digital health industry is likely to witness an enhancement and increase in the number of access points. Increased acceptance of omnichannel will lead to optimization of customer engagement as HCOs will have more resources from where they can leverage patient data.
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