Healthcare technology: 9 ways BLE beacons are transforming healthcare in 2018
Last Updated:  June 19, 2019
Healthcare technology: Bluetooth technology, such as BLE beacons provides healthcare sector with marketing solutions, ways to enhance patient satisfaction and boost hospital efficiency
According to the New York Times, more than $3 trillion is being spent annually on healthcare in the United States. It is therefore obvious why some of the biggest names are making bets on the healthcare industry. Amazon, Uber, Google and Apple have announced in the past few weeks that they are looking to transform the healthcare industry. Amazon is partnering with JP Morgan Chase and Warren Buffet, to create a better technological platform for administering healthcare. Whereas, Apple is dragging medicine from where it currently is – in hospitals – to the consumer side, i.e., smartphones. Similarly, Uber is looking to disrupt ambulance services. Given the influx of tech in this industry, it is mandatory for healthcare and hospitals to accelerate and embrace technological advances to boost patient experience.
Beacon technology in healthcare
Beacon technology, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate with smartphones in close proximity, offers a diverse array of opportunities for healthcare. A BLE beacon at the hospital gate could open a map to the patient’s appointment chamber or offer breakfast coupons at the cafeteria. In 2015, in terms of beacon shipments, healthcare accounts for almost 20% of the market share. And, this number has significantly increased in the last few years.
Deloitte’s research shows that good patient experience is directly proportional to healthcare profitability. Improving patient experience translates directly into strengthening customer loyalty and building reputation and brand value. Similar to any other vertical, beacons in healthcare boost the customer experience with contextually relevant communication. Here are some use-cases of beacon technology in healthcare –
1. Reduce patient wait time by streamlining check-ins and admits
While it is well established that longer wait time negatively impacts the patient satisfaction score, it is important for healthcare to identify smarter ways to reduce the wait time. Setting up a beacon infrastructure wherein patients and visitors can begin filling out the necessary information from their personal devices, is extremely helpful. This information can be used to prioritize the patient flow. Beacons can also be used to broadcast instruction sheets and list of documents required for admitting.
Some healthcare brands, like Mayo Clinic, are handing visitors iPads to help decrease the friction during the admission process.
2. Notify treating physician about patient’s medical history
Beacons can automatically alert the treating physician to potential issues and medical histories, such as medical conditions, allergies or intolerance to certain medicines, emergency contacts, blood type and other potentially lifesaving information.
4. Increase engagement on tips, suggestion & feedback
Healthcare and hospitals have traditionally made use of wellness boards and paper signage to spread information. Impressions on print media have gradually declined over the last decade. Digital information is more acceptable to visitors in the age group of 16-44.
#2. Improve hospital efficiency with beacon technology
1. Asset tracking using Bluetooth technology
Hospital assets are expensive. And keeping track of all these equipment can be a daunting task. The healthcare staff often works in multiple places and have varied responsibilities. As a result of this expensive healthcare equipment is regularly misplaced or left in disuse. By implementing an asset tracking system with beacons, you would always know where your equipment is. This ensures that there are lesser misplaced assets, reduced purchase of repeat equipment and shorter wait time for patients.
Other similar technologies being used for asset tracking: In addition to Bluetooth beacons, RFID, QR codes and NFC are other technologies being used for asset tracking at healthcare facilities. Here’s a comprehensive comparison of these technologies:
2. Enhancing equipment utilization and boosting healthcare efficiency
Beacons not only track assets but also gathers a massive amount of customer data that helps in understanding patient behaviour. Healthcare industry has been using this data to determine the busy and slow days. The staff management is highly influenced by this data.
#3. Promote your healthcare and fine-tune the marketing strategies
1. Build brand awareness – help users make informed hospital choices
Paired with advice from referring physicians, the internet is helping patients make more informed hospital choices. Chances are high that when someone falls ill, the first thing they do is a search for the best healthcare facility nearby. This is a huge opportunity for healthcare marketers to attract patients. Broadcast notifications about your healthcare, the facilities provided and success stories to build brand awareness and inculcate trust among visitors. New York Presbyterian Hospital has built an entire video marketing strategy around this concept. (WATCH THEIR VIDEO) Broadcasting such videos at public places nearby immensely enhances the brand recall factor.
2. Retarget the right audience online
Paul Matsen, CMO of Cleveland Clinic says, “80% of patients who are diagnosed with an illness go on the web to find information about their condition.” This means that the most natural way of recapturing a patient attention is to retarget them when they go online.
This is how beacon-based retargeting works –
Patient views a beacon-based campaign when he/she is in your healthcare premise. This could be an indoor navigation campaign, a breakfast coupon or anything else
The patients exit your premise
When he goes online (Facebook or Google) the next time, he/she sees an ad from your healthcare. This is an excellent callback factor.
3. Improve public health by spreading awareness about diseases and healthy lifestyle
One of the best healthcare marketing strategies is to spread awareness and register them to your database. A lot of healthcare and hospitals have already done this. Carilion Clinic of Virginia’s Roanoke Valley ran a campaign #YESSMAMM which answered common breast cancer questions in a Twitter Chat. This campaign also drove traffic to their website to encourage women to make an appointment at one of its screening locations. To spread awareness it important to reach out to visitors at public venues and bridge the gap between offline and online experiences. This is where billboards and pamphlets fall short off, and beacons do an excellent job!
Are you a healthcare manager/marketer looking to enhance patient satisfaction, hospital efficiency and marketing efforts? Talk to us if you would like to revolutionize your healthcare too. Beaconstac’s end-to-end solution comes with an intuitive dashboard that allows you to monitor all your campaigns at once. Want to explore other ways of effective information delivery to patients? Try QR codes now!
Monika Adarsh is the Director of Inbound Marketing at Beaconstac where her primary job is to help users find answers to anything related to QR Codes. She works closely with customers to understand QR Code usage trends and build a framework for successful QR Code campaigns. She enjoys documenting her learnings about the QR Code market as posts and playbooks. She also anchors a podcast to uncover ways of using QR Codes in DTC/CPG brands. In her free time, she loves gardening and decorating spaces.