The key to creating digital Healthcare tools that result in long term engagement

Table of Contents


From Health care providers, to patients, insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. 

How to build digital solutions that stakeholders use and will continue to use long term?

If you build they will come, is no longer true. It might have worked back in the 1990s but in today’s world, competition is strong, options are broad and users are selective. Today, If you wish to engage your users with a digital product, a production-oriented mantra will no longer resonate in a needs-based world. 

Not every investment brings engagement.

As a digital engagement company we are intimately familiar with this challenge, we have watched companies invest millions of dollars in great digital tools, just to find out Patients and Providers do not adopt them, and prefer sticking to the current way of doing things as the value add of the new digital tool is not clear. 

What is the secret to creating a digital product that people will use?

With over 12 years of experience and 500+ digital solution implementations, we have learned that successful digital engagement depends on many different factors, factors that need to be identified and validated through research with agile application development, prior to development kickoff.  

A few key factors are,

Differentiation by value add

To differentiate a digital solution in such a competitive marketplace, one has to start with a clear definition of the solution and its intended targeted users’ pain points. Consumers in their health journey will have different needs, goals, motivators and communication styles at different milestones of the health journey. The two main paramount factors of a digital tool is addressing and how well does it fit in a clinical workflow. A close secondary is addressing the importance of connecting the stakeholders.

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.

Onboarding experience and User retention

A solid understanding of human behavior is crucial for successful product development. A large contributing factor to digital patient engagement being less than stellar is falling due to experiences being developed without keeping the end user dead and center. Patients are highly specialized consumers, their needs are specific and hyper personalized.

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?

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.

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.

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

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 .

Education, support and integration

If users do not understand how to use your app properly, then no matter how good your product is, your application will be ignored.

Change can be difficult, and this is the main reason why digital transformation is taking longer than we would expect, it is hard for humans to do things in a new different way, it is very easy to quit when frustrated and confused, and if we can’t identify immediate value in our new methods, we simply go back to doing what was working in the first place.

Through proper education and onboarding, support availability, and integration to other systems your users already understand and have invested time and energy in, you can speed up the process and ensure a successful launch.

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.

Building from scratch

A time consuming and expensive approach

One big question when it comes to building health engagement solutions, is whether to start from scratch or use pre-built modules.

For a digital product to be successful,  personalization, continuous improvement , specialization, and adaptation is required. Therefore, adapting to a generic solution is not viable, and while building from scratch can be useful in cases where bespoke functionalities and control on every aspect is necessary. With all the investment it requires, building from scratch, will take longer to reach the level of competitors’ efficacy and  resources could be better used to develop something far more superior, supported by a basic structure.

Our solution is flexible enough to act on feedback and allow continuous improvement, it provides control, ownership and personalization while being an Industry specialized solution, It has great capacity, and is scalable, deployable and integrable.

Although we had to leave out other engagement factors, we ambition the ones we did mentioned empower the creation of healthcare solutions that are functional, high performing and engaging.

If you wish to find out more
and collaborate with us

Our passionate and multi-disciplinary team is working on behavioral engagement models to make self-service and self-help effective, with an empathetic and personalized tone. We are looking to achieve an accuracy of 74% and higher in resolving service inquiries without requiring a phone call or a customer service rep. 

While we are close to our benchmarks we need more data to feed the algorithm for higher results, and are looking to further our partnerships with service delivery organizations that are multiple contacts/touch points for healthcare and wellness.

Connect with us for digital engagement solutions Talk to us We bring our years of experience in digital solutions with real engagement

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