Today, there seems to be an app for almost everything. Whether you’re looking to order food, budget your monthly expenses or hail a cab, it can all be accomplished with a few quick taps of your smartphone screen. Case in point, there are nearly 2 million apps at our disposal just across the most popular app stores—Apple’s App Store, Google Play Store and Microsoft App Store.
Despite the vast number of useful app options available (at little to no cost, mind you), few address medical needs. In fact, market research shows that medical apps only account for about 2 percent of the entire app market in 2015. A quick search for medical apps in the Google Play Store shows the dearth of not only quantity but quality in this category, with AtomicApps’ disease dictionary and WebMD’s symptom checker apps ranking among the top two apps.
With so much room for growth and a lack of competition, it would seem that only cost could be keeping hospitals from entering the app market—or why else wouldn’t they be supporting their customers with these tools? Yet, Zesty—a healthcare app created for booking medical appointments—proves there is money to be made, as the U.K. company just secured $7.2 million in Series A funding, according to TechCrunch, to expand into other European countries.
Inspired by Zesty, here are three ways hospitals can be profitable through mobile apps:
- Win over millennials: The millennial generation (19- to 37-year-olds) are known to avoid the doctor for anything from routine checkups to flu vaccines. And although more are going to the doctor with the Affordable Care Act now in place, the numbers have only risen slightly. To ensure these young adults get the medical care they need, give them more control of the customer service portion of healthcare by providing them with an app that can help take the stress out of finding doctors and scheduling appointments.
- Put yourself on the map: Unfortunately for patients, they don’t get to decide when and where they get sick. If you’re sick in a city that isn’t your own and with multiple hospitals, patients might have a hard time finding you. Providing potential patients with an app will help put you on the map and increase the number of patients who choose to use your facility over other alternatives.
- Be more efficient: Hospitals are profitable when they can quickly diagnose symptoms and provide treatment for their patients. With the number of patients a hospital serves on a daily basis, scheduling becomes a prerequisite for completing these tasks efficiently. With a mobile app, hospitals can make scheduling patient visits less of an ordeal. This can help hospitals cut costs while increasing patient turnaround, thereby increasing profits.