Why healthcare must ‘step up’ and engage consumers

Why healthcare must ‘step up’ and engage consumers

When Harry Reynolds asks audiences how many of them use smartphones every day for almost all parts of their lives, plenty of hands fly up. But when he asks how many tap their phone or another device for healthcare he sees between 2 and 10 percent of those fingers in the air.

“And most of the audiences that I speak to are the learned in healthcare,” said Reynolds, who is IBM’s director of health industry transformation. “So picture them using their smartphone about 150 times a day and not using it for health, which is one of the most relevant things in their day.”

Whereas almost every other major industry has embraced mobile technologies to more effectively engage customers healthcare has thus far been behind that mobile curve.

On Monday Dec. 8 during a session at the mHealth Summit 2014 Reynolds will discuss how he sees that changing, thanks in large part to the raft of apps, devices and technologies coming to market.

Healthcare until now has required the person to come to it — a stark contrast to the example Reynolds cited of Black Friday. Customers can physically go to stores or malls, they can instead opt to surf online for Cyber Monday deals, and they can use apps to pinpoint exactly where the best price for what they want resides.

“None of that exists for healthcare,” Reynolds said. “It’s time to use the mobile capabilities of the world to change overall health.”

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