Consumer Comparison of Digital Health Information

In my first blog, I addressed the effect that electronic-savvy consumers are having on healthcare information sharing. As today’s healthcare CIOs grapple with consumer demands for electronic information, they face the dilemma of enabling consumers to shop and compare healthcare services in an increasingly complex environment.

Healthcare organizations are struggling to make information available to consumers, such as physician selection or comparing health plan options – given their own medical histories.  But there is a gap between what consumers want and what most healthcare organizations can provide.

For instance, when selecting a physician or primary care facility, how do consumers compare real life health information needs with the capabilities of the physicians or clinic to support their health experience? Or, when selecting a health insurer, how do consumers personalize the health plan comparison with their own experiences? Where is the wizard to guide consumers through the health plan selection process in a personalized fashion?

An even greater challenge is meeting consumer expectations to enable complex data in an interactive format with all of the touchpoints consumers want including a website, call center, mobile app, and office phone number.  In other words, how do healthcare organizations push or make information available to consumers to grab and ingest in the manner and approach they prefer?

Healthcare technologists must consider these factors when developing consumer technology:

  • Using language and terminology that is understandable to the audience. The business and technical sides of the organization need to bridge the gap between healthcare providers and their consumers.
  • The real estate available on each device. A cell phone has much less space to explain a condition or medical options than a PC or tablet. Decisions about how much to say, and whether to refer viewers to another source, become critical.
  • Balancing the completeness of disclosure and comparison data with the amount of technical information that the average consumer can evaluate.

These challenges require healthcare CIOs to tie together the front and back ends of systems, while considering the vast differences in audience background knowledge and the medium via which the information is delivered.  Not an easy task! Leveraging our experience across healthcare as well as similar challenges in other industries, Coherent Solutions navigates the many challenging issues that arise every day when developing robust, commercial grade, consumer-facing software applications.  Call us to discuss your challenges!