Non-healthcare organizations that pioneered the third wave of digitization started by trying to understand what their customers really wanted; they then built up their initial digital products and services based on that information and expanded their offerings and customer base from there methodically. We think that this model would also work for healthcare. Success in the third digital wave depends heavily on the first understanding of both channel and service digital preferences of patients. But many digital healthcare strategies are still driven by untrue myths or information.
Myth 3: Mobile health is the game changer
Mobile health— the practice of mobile-based healthcare — is often hailed as the future of digital healthcare services. However, our survey shows that there is no universal demand for mobile healthcare. Therefore, in the future of healthcare digitization, it is not the only critical factor. There is certainly demand for mobile healthcare applications, of course, and among younger people, it is strongest. Therefore, health systems should create mobile solutions targeting this audience— for example, apps focusing on prenatal health or apps that could be classified as lifestyle apps.Beware of solutions that might have a lot of impact but are not of interest to the segment in question — for example, digital applications to manage chronic conditions typically found in the elderly.
Myth 4: Patients want innovative features and apps
Health systems, payers, and providers often think they need to be innovative when designing their offerings for digital services. But the core features patients expect from their health system are surprisingly mundane: efficiency, better access to information, integration with other channels, and a real person’s availability if they don’t get what they need from the digital service. For most patients, highly innovative services, better applications and more social media are far less important.
Myth 5: A comprehensive service platform is a prerequisite for value creation
When going digital, many institutions— not just those in healthcare— think it’s necessary to “go big” before they can achieve anything; they think they need to build a comprehensive platform with offerings across the whole spectrum of customer services. Starting small, however, can be smarter and act quickly.
Surprisingly, most people around the globe want the same thing: help with routine tasks and navigate the often-complex healthcare system. For example, in Germany, Singapore, and the UK — three very different countries with three very different health systems — patients most often refer to “finding and scheduling physician appointments” as the service they need help with. Other commonly mentioned needs include help in selecting the right specialist and supporting repetitive administrative tasks such as refilling prescriptions. What most of these services have in common is that they do not need to get started with massive IT investments.