By Betsy Weaver, Ed.D., CEO, UbiCare
Connecting with people isn’t what it used to be. It’s not just a conversation over the back fence or a chat on Main Street. Today, you can reach anyone anywhere in the world within seconds.
That can feel both intoxicating and insurmountable for small businesses with a great idea, limited resources and big-gun competitors. Technology lets us communicate with a huge audience, but if we don’t do it effectively, we’re lost — in a sea of other failed attempts to capture attention and communicate ideas.
At UbiCare, communication is our lifeblood. Our mission is to educate and engage people in their healthcare by improving the connection between patients and their caregivers. Our challenge has been in figuring out how to best connect with both of them.
Studies suggest that in the U.S., 80% of patients want to communicate with providers electronically
. But what’s the best channel
to connect with them? Apps, text messaging, social media, email, a website…?
Whatever the choice, we now know that it has to be mobile. In 2013, 49% of the entire U.S. population used a smartphone, a number projected to jump to 68% by 2017. Technology is no longer about being electronic; it’s about being mobile.
So, what’s the “slam dunk” approach to “mConnections”? All of the channels mentioned above have a prominent place, but the winner, ironically, is what some people have declared obsolete: Email. As the familiar quotation goes, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Indeed, email is alive and well!
According to the IDC Study for Facebook
, it’s the most common smartphone activity (beyond talking or texting) among 18- to 44-year-olds today; 78% use their smartphones to check email (more than websites, Facebook, maps or games).
That said, email has had to evolve as quickly as technology. Even just two years ago, email messages, ours included, were long and clunky. In today’s world, shorter is sweeter. New technology has turned email into mobile mail (mEmail).
At UbiCare, we’ve learned that bringing software development in-house to improve our mEmail patient engagement solution was the most efficient way to evolve, as detailed in a recent article about us in The New York Times
. Now, not only does our messaging change quickly to keep up with the dizzying pace of technology, our software does, too.
But here’s the challenge for any business trying to connect in a mobile age: If you want someone to open mEmail, your message better be good!