The world of healthcare has evolved a great deal over the last decade. From new advances in medical treatment to a rise in demand for specialized healthcare workers, the state of healthcare is becoming more advanced with each passing day. One area in particular in which healthcare has made a great deal of headway is accessible communication between patients and healthcare providers. Whereas one used to have to make either an in-person or phone call appointment, today, asking one’s doctor a question can be as easy as pulling out one’s phone and sending a message.
Another change healthcare has seen is the rise in mobile health apps. Though these have had a great impact on how accessible healthcare can be to patients, and nursing apps have been a huge help to healthcare workers, they still have their drawbacks.
At this time, many mobile health apps still do not have live chat integrated into their design. This begs the question, why not? Understanding the benefits of live chat along with how accessible communication can impact patient experience can help one gain a deeper understanding of healthcare in the modern world.
What Are Mobile Health Apps?
Before understanding whether live chat has a place in the world of mobile health apps, it’s important to understand how mobile health apps are defined. Put simply, mobile health apps are apps that healthcare providers provide to their patients to make healthcare more accessible.
Typically, these apps allow patients to do things such as schedule appointments and even send a message to their doctor. Though there are some avenues of communication within many of these apps, we haven’t yet seen live chat integrated into these apps on a large scale.
What Is Live Chat and Why Is It Useful?
Live chat, sometimes called live support, is a form of software that allows consumers to interact with employees of a business when visiting a digital space, such as a mobile app or webpage. Typically, customer service representatives will be the ones chatting with consumers, while other cases include technical support employees helping consumers figure out a problem.
What makes live chat useful to consumers is the immediate nature of the communication. Rather than sending an email and having to wait for a response, or call a help center and wait on hold, live chat enables consumers to start an immediate conversation. This means that consumers can potentially have their questions answered and their comments addressed within a matter of seconds. From the point of view of a consumer, live chat is a way of communicating with an organization that is far more accessible and easier than alternative routes of reaching out.
From an organization’s standpoint, live chat is a great way to keep customers in their digital space. If a consumer has a question about a product, instead of going through the trouble of emailing or calling the business, they may just leave the digital space altogether. Live chats offer organizations a way to make communication easy for customers, so they don’t risk losing them to a competitor.
How Live Chat Would Look in Mobile Health Apps
While many speculate about the future of healthcare, such as the future of health care and medical care, mobile health tech have not necessarily been as big of a part of the conversation as they should be.
Mobile health apps are beginning to break down barriers between patients and their healthcare providers, making receiving medical care a more enjoyable and streamlined experience for patients. With live chat, mobile health apps would be able to break down even more barriers and increase the ease with which patients can contact their healthcare providers.
The immediate nature of live chat features would allow patients to speak to representatives from their healthcare provider organization within seconds. While this may not seem incredibly important at first, it could actually be a giant leap for healthcare.
As of now, while there have been some advances in the ways that patients are able to communicate with healthcare providers, there is still a barrier. If one tries to call, they’ll likely have to wait on hold. As such, patients may still feel as if contacting their healthcare provider is difficult and time-consuming.
If live chat were to be integrated into mobile health apps on a large scale, then this may not be the case. The perspective of patients would shift, and they would likely view contacting their healthcare provider as an easy task rather than a difficult one. This shift in perception could help to usher healthcare into the modern world and make receiving healthcare as easy as texting one’s friends or family.
Mobile Health Apps Can Help Take Healthcare to the Next Level
Mobile health apps have already had a significant impact on patients’ ability to communicate with and have access to their healthcare providers. With live chat, this accessibility and ease of communication can be taken to the next level.
As barriers of communication between patients and healthcare providers break down, we can move closer to a world that has an ideal healthcare system.