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Getting consumers to use your mobile app

on September 17, 2013

Getting consumers to use a mobile app to play games or communicate through social media is one thing. Getting them to use a healthcare-related app is another.

"I think most people are not ready to use mobile and digital technology to manage their healthcare," says Dave Brooks, founder of Medlio, a virtual insurance identification card that provides healthcare cost transparency for both patients and providers via smartphone app.

To get patients to engage with the app, Brooks focused on getting providers and doctors to encourage use of Medlio. "Their biggest challenge is collecting money on the front end of a visit, and if they don't collect up front, there is a good chance they are never going to get paid. Ten years ago when patients paid 5 percent of the bill it wasn't a huge problem, but today when patients are paying upwards of 30 percent of the bill, it is a huge financial issue. If we can create enough value to providers, we believe they will push their patient populations to embrace this solution," Brooks says.

Brooks has spent the last 13 years working primarily with mobile health startups. He says the place to start patient engagement is cost of healthcare because it is where people will start to participate and care. "Health insurance plans are much more dynamic than they used to be, and now we offer the patient access to all of their information in real time," says Brooks.

When it comes to new technology, Brooks feels consumers don't understand the full potential. "My concern is that we have consumers that are so sensitive to the design and user interface, that they forget we're solving the problem..."I think it is a very tall order to deal with consumers on a mobile app. The expectation of a solution is so high; I think it is very difficult to get a valid test," he says.

Other entrepreneurial insights from Brooks:

Attack the elephant - For all entrepreneurs, Brooks advises attacking big question marks early. "Understanding what the elephant in the room is and addressing it is one of the most important things any entrepreneur can do. Every single person that decides to start a business; I guarantee there is at least one really big elephant living in their head that they are afraid to deal with because they are scared it will tell them everything they have been working on has been a waste of time," says Brooks.

Focus on the now - The beginning years of a startup will give perspective that will change future strategies. "Don't go investing effort and visualizing your potential empire five years from now," says Brooks. "I'm a big believer in lean startup concepts. Figure out first if you are solving a real problem, can you get paid for it, how you are going to scale it."

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[Bottom Photo of David Brooks]

Category:  Execution  Growth  Tags:  Mobile Health, Entrepreneur, Startup, mHealth, Business model

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