The key to creating long-term engagement with digital healthcare tools.

Table of Contents


The challenge:

How to build digital solutions that stakeholders use?

There is no longer a truth in the adage, “if you build it, they will come.” Competition is fierce today, options are plentiful, and users are selective. Having a digital product that captivates your users’ interests and desires is essential to engaging them today.

Investing does not always lead to engagement.

This is a challenge we are intimately familiar with as a digital engagement company. We have seen companies invest millions in great digital tools, only to discover that patients and providers prefer to stick with their existing ways of doing things because the value added by the new digital tool is unclear.

 Another important factor is the app’s content and features. If an app does not provide relevant, useful, and updated information, or if its features are not functional or useful, patients are less likely to use it.

Your digital product must demonstrate value to your audience if you want them to engage. Your patients need to understand how a new digital tool will dramatically ease their pain and make healthcare more convenient.

Creating a successful digital product is all about knowing what people want.

After 12 years of experience and 500+ implementations of digital solutions, we have learned that successful digital engagement depends on several factors. These factors must be identified and validated before the developmental kickoff through agile application development research.  

A value-added differentiation strategy

Defining the solution and its intended users’ pain points is crucial to differentiating a digital solution in such a competitive marketplace. At different milestones in the health journey, consumers will have unique needs, goals, motivators, and communication styles. In terms of digital tools, the two most significant factors are what they address and how well they fit into clinical workflows.

A visual example of a successful implementation.

Challenge solved : 

Avoid any lapse in care by getting prescription renewals and authorization in time.

Captura de Pantalla 2022-06-29 a la(s) 10.30.06 a. m.

Let’s Look at How the Consumer Thinks.

It is crucial to have a deep understanding of human behavior to develop successful products. Developing experiences without keeping the end user in mind significantly contributes to less than stellar digital patient engagement. A patient is a highly specialized consumer with specific and hyper-personal needs.

A good analogy:   System 1.0 worked amazingly well for storing, saving, and presenting available information when asked for by the user, but new smart system 2.0 and 3.0 provide pertinent , contextual and timely  information to users. As consumers we get traffic information added to our calendar as events alerts, we need to bring these consumer systems to healthcare systems. An example of this is alerting ahead of time of crucial milestone check ups to clinicians, patients and health advocates while adjusting for known delays.
Digital products today must be designed with smart systems in mind, and notify the user of upcoming expirations, alarming situations, and other events that might present throughout the journey.

Another good example of smart system is facebook birthday reminders. For years now we have been notified about our friends’ birthdays, to the point that many of us rely merely on facebook to remember them. Why is that only recently we started applying this level of smartness to health enterprises, when forgetting a friend’s birthday will most likely have less serious consequences than a clinician dismissing a patient’s prescription expiration date?

:  Similarly to how consumers receive traffic information in their calendars as event alerts, healthcare systems also need these consumer systems. For example, clinicians, patients, and health advocates may be notified of crucial milestone checkups.


Today’s digital products must be designed with smart systems in mind and inform the user of upcoming expirations, alarming situations, and other events that may present themselves as the journey continues.

Facebook birthday reminders are yet another example of a smart system. Many of us now rely solely on Facebook to remember our friends’ birthdays because we have been notified for years. We have only recently begun applying this level of smartness to health enterprises. This is even though forgetting a friend’s birthday is likely to have less dire consequences than disregarding a prescription expiration date.

A few nuggets,

➡ Chronic care patients do not respond positively to personalized messages, whereas specialty care patients receive personalized virtual care tools very positively, resulting in better care. 

➡ First time user and return user workflows mixed in the same bucket of implementation. They are distinctly different and need to be handled as such.

The Importance of Digital Healthcare Solutions.

Patients will fail to fill in prescriptions, be involved in drug holiday and not stay persistent in their care, the digital tool needs to address this challenge and built in controls of escalation to handle such scenarios.

There will be patients who fail to fill prescriptions, engage in drug holidays, and don’t persist in their care. It is imperative that the digital tool addresses this challenge and that escalation controls are built in to handle such situations.

Health Apps
Retention 90%



Retention 16%



First ten days 74%

Stop using an app within the first ten times

Only once 26%

Used it only once after being downloaded

© 2020 McKinsey October report

Healthcare apps can be very beneficial for patients as they can provide easy access to health information, allow for remote monitoring of health conditions, and facilitate communication with healthcare providers. They can also help patients manage chronic conditions, stay on top of their medications, and track their progress over time.

Additionally, healthcare apps can also provide patients with resources and tools to improve their overall well-being, such as exercise and nutrition tracking. Overall, healthcare apps can empower patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare and improve their overall health outcomes.

Every Patient is Different.

Your application MUST be easy to use and customizable for the patient. Moreover, healthcare digital platforms must be customized for care models and branding. They must also be designed to maintain stakeholder engagement throughout the journey; they must provide clear instructions regarding what actions are expected at each stage of the journey and for what reason.

Digital case management offers better alignment and functionality for health stakeholders throughout the different stages of the care journey by managing the entire care journey, from intake to assessments, care plans, advocates, and pharmacy services.

Are digital healthcare tools developed to promote long term use by the stake-holders ? 

In eCommerce lingo, the term engagement is referred to as ‘Stickiness’, which determines how often users come back to the app/website to perform an action.

It is obtained by:


(DAU = Daily Active Users)      (MAU = Monthly Active Users)

A stickiness average of 20% across industries is considered good, whereas 25% and beyond is considered exceptional. And while there is no information on health apps’ stickiness rates, what we do know is:

The usage frequency of mhealth apps is:

Mobile social Health & wellness apps 

have an average stickiness of 45%

© 2022 Andreessen Horowitz

In this order, healthcare digital platforms must not only be customizable for care models and branding, but also designed to keep stakeholders engaged throughout; maintaining motivation and clearly stating what actions are expected at which point of the journey, and for which purpose/reward.

The digital management of the complete care journey, from Intake, assessments, care plans, health advocates, and pharmacy services, through digital case management, offers better alignment and functionality for health stakeholders needs throughout the different stages of the care journey .

Using a Language and Interface Your Patients Understand.

It doesn’t matter how good your product is if users don’t understand how to use it.

Change is difficult, and this is the main reason why digital transformation is taking longer than expected. Humans have a challenging time doing things in a new way. When frustrated or confused, it is straightforward to give up, and if we cannot see immediate value in our new methods, we simply go back to what works.

A successful launch can be achieved through proper education and onboarding, access to support, and integration with other systems your users are already familiar with. A user-friendly interface can help ensure that patients are more likely to use the app regularly and effectively.

A good healthcare app should be intuitive, have clear navigation, and provide easy access to important features. Additionally, the app should be designed with the specific needs of the patient population in mind, and take into account factors such as age, language, and technological literacy. By making the app easy to use, patients are more likely to use the app regularly, which can lead to better health outcomes.

A nugget,

➡ Digital tools are developed from the bottom up, with not enough time for onboarding, thus creating stressing onboarding experiences.

Research & Innovation

     R&D is the only way to:

  • Empathize with users, understand the real, unexpressed and unmet needs and create solutions that they will adopt and use consistently.
  • Understand the dynamics of user interactions with the product. Research will help them see things from the users’ “point of view”.
  • Keep up with the evolution of users, markets, and technology, and to evolve and adapt to the changing demands.

 Our platform workflow engine is based on lean startup processes and product design theories that help identify and verify the expressed and unexpressed requirements and needs of the users, and incorporate these insights into an agile and iterative release cycle.

Get Help Building Your Healthcare Application!

Whether to build health engagement solutions from scratch or use pre-built modules is one of the biggest questions.

It is essential for a digital product to be personalized, to be continuously improved, to be specialized, and to be adapted to its environment. The benefit of building from scratch is that it allows for bespoke functionalities and control in every aspect.

The disadvantage of adapting to a generic solution is that it cannot be implemented. The investment required to build from scratch will take much longer to achieve the level of efficiency of competitors, and resources could be better utilized to develop something much superior.

We provide control, ownership, and personalization while being an Industry specialized solution that is scalable, deployable, and integrable. We respond quickly to feedback and provide continuous improvement.

If you wish to find out more
and collaborate with us

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