Apple a Day and the Apps of Today
From instant gratification through to a decision free lifestyle, Apple a Day takes a look at the trends set to have a real impact on the world of app development.
Hands up who’s heard of the Oscars? The BAFTAs? BRIT Awards? Now what about the Webbys or the Lovies? Not so many of you – but that is set to change. The Webby and Lovie Awards are the online community’s equivalent of the Oscars - recognising achievement and excellence in all things internet related. And, as the trend for brands to produce ever more innovative online content charges rapidly forward, all eyes are on these awards to uncover the next big thing. So when Beth Higbee, European Director of the Webby Media Group came to H+K Towers this week to talk about trends in the world of apps, Apple a Day headed along to learn a bit more – and see how these trends are translating into the world of healthcare.
Part 1: The Golden Age of Expectation
We want everything now, and we want it to be perfect. Service must be excellent. Products must multi-task. If there’s a job we don’t want to do, we want someone else to do it for us – and with a smile. Basically, our expectations have been raised, and they’re staying high. If an application can’t deliver this, we lose interest, and fast. We want everything on demand – and anything that takes longer than 30 minutes is not on demand. For healthcare, this means we no longer expect to wait for health advice. If we’ve got a health query, we want an answer to it as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are services out there that can deliver this. Text a Doctor is an app that does what it says on the tin. You enter a question into the app, and a doctor replies with an answer within 9 minutes, 24/7. It’s US based at the moment, but similar services are becoming increasingly common in the UK.
Part 2: The 4 Entitlements
We want everything now, we want someone else to make decisions for us, we want the choices we make to be informed by feedback from reliable sources, and, if possible, we want all this delivered in as seamless an experience as possible.
- Entitlement 1: Instant Gratification – Impatience is on the rise. In a Webby survey looking at consumer attitudes, they found that 91% of people expected access to real time customer service, and 88% want service to be available when they want it. A raft of apps that offer access to healthcare professionals at a time and location to suit you have flooded the market, and US based Dr On Demand is one of these. The app offers real time access to doctors and health care professionals, as well as video consultations from the comfort of your own home. Psychology Online also provides this real time healthcare advice – giving you access to a psychologist at any time of day.
- Entitlement 2: A Decision Free Lifestyle – We’re too busy to make our own decisions now. There’s an increasing number of apps that take away the need for us to make up our minds for ourselves, with many of these within healthcare focusing on informing us when to carry out a particular action. Daily Water is one such app, helping you on your way to ultimate hydration by taking the decision of when to drink away from you. On a more serious note, many of these apps provide reminders for patients with chronic illnesses to take their medication, and track their symptoms. Care4Today offers this service, whilst also alerting carers if a scheduled dose is missed.
- Entitlement 3: Transparency – Consumers are smart, and they don’t want to be lied to. We also don’t want to waste our time on a service that doesn’t live up to expectations – indeed, 88% of people want reviews for everything. This trend is even more pronounced in the healthcare sector, where people want to know they are receiving the most expert advice. Patient Opinion offers reviews and feedback on patient services throughout the UK – written by those who have experienced that service themselves.
- Entitlement 4: A seamless experience – We just want things to be done. If someone can take care of something from beginning to end, so much the better. Mywellness is a clever, all in one app that tracks all aspects of the user’s physical activity and lifestyle, using algorithms to gradually increase their levels of exercise. It also links to other health and lifestyle apps, providing a seamless, holistic approach to managing your health.
The conclusion that we have become one of the most demanding, entitled generations ever to grace the planet may seem like a slightly negative note to end on. But, as Beth put it, the future is bright, and expectations are greater. And Apple a Day would go as far as saying the future is bright, because our expectations are greater. The more our expectations rise, the more healthcare services and companies will have to innovate to meet them – so the fact that we are demanding of excellence is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, the industry may be more perilous with more start-ups stalling in the early days, but this is due to the fact that there is a huge explosion in creativity and innovation in this area. More and more people want a piece of the action when it comes to developing ‘the next big thing’ within online healthcare services, and if our demand for excellence has created this breeding ground for technological innovation, then so much the better.