By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
The trend for hospital marketing and advertising professionals is increasingly: “think mobile.” It’s a message that’s reinforced with the introduction next week of an online “app store” by the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA).
The first-ever mobile application store by and for healthcare professionals—doctors health care executives, nurses and other medical providers—launches in November and build-out over the following months. The increasing availability and use of apps and smartphones has grown quickly among both the medical provider public and the general (patient) public.
One survey suggests that 60 percent of doctors in the US have a smartphone. Other research concludes that 17 percent of US adults used a smartphone as of last year. Intuitively these numbers seem low, but the adoption curve is definately on the up-swing.
On the provider side, smartphones and medical-related apps are useful for a range of purposes including medical reference, e-prescribing, electronic medical records systems and efficient communications among professionals. The GNYHA app service—named Happtique—is intended “to meet the specific needs of health care professionals…[providing a] one-stop shop offering health care and medical-related apps (or “Happlications”) for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Mobile platforms.
“Our goal is to make it easy to find Happs that improve the quality, accessibility, and cost of care. In some instances, Happs will be offered at reduced rates. We will also provide discount pricing on bulk purchases based on our ability to negotiate pre-determined high-volume rates with developers,” according to GNYHA.
Hospitals and healthcare providers are also aware that the patient-public is progressively more mobile and wireless. As one example, the Southern Regional Health System (Riverdale, GA) provides a mobile-friendly version of their website. More than five percent of their website traffic is now from mobile visitors.
In addition to mobile-specific sites, the implications for mobile-minded hospital and healthcare marketing executives include audience specific messaging, geotargeted mobile advertising, more immediate news and public relations, and custom smartphone applications.