Customer feedback for apps on the go

Health insurer Medibank has released details of recent research into how its customers are using its mobile applications.

A few surprises have emerged, including a tendency for users of its Symptom Checker app to spend time late in the evening browsing different symptoms and disease states.

Medibank also offers a free Energy Balancer app, which allows users to measure how much exercise they need to do to burn off the calories from different food types.

It also has a Medibank Mobile app for members to allow them to make claims, check their claims history and search for healthcare providers in its Member's Choice network.

Alex Young, Medibank’s channel manager for mobile and social, digital sales and service, said his analytics and user profiles had some interesting things to say about the type of health information people are looking for.

“For example, our growth in members lodging claims electronically through our internet or smartphone systems has increased 92.5 per cent year on year,” Mr Young said.

“Our apps are obviously resonating with members who want immediate and effective tools to be more proactive in looking after themselves and managing their health insurance.”

He said a typical Medibank app user most frequently checks their medical symptoms between 8pm and 11pm, most regularly monitors alcohol, burgers and chocolate for their energy intake, and if they are a member, they most often look at their claims history or use the app to make a claim.

Earlier research into how people are using the two consumer apps – which are free to any user – were slightly different than expected. The company had thought the Symptom Checker would prove most popular amongst parents with young children and this was borne out, but the surprise was the “late-night browser” who seemed to be spending time looking through different symptoms.

Mr Young said the usage figures showed a very active group of people casually looking through lists of symptoms and clicking on topics of interest, perhaps for the purpose of self-education.

The app uses as its knowledge base the Schmitt-Thompson Clinical Content, which provides the information contained in the very popular US-content app SymptomMD, first launched in 2010.

He said usage of the Energy Balancer showed it was generally a social experience , in which users have a habit of sharing amusing stats.

“You have the alcoholic component in it, which is always interesting, and we do have the appropriate measures so people are aware that it is something to be taken in moderation. But the activity side is where it gets really interesting.

“You have your standard running and swimming and then it starts to move into things like housework, playing games. We've had a lot of feedback from customers who are keen on seeing additional activities and food represented, but it has a fun element of realising exactly how much effort is required to burn off the food you eat.”

The Medibank Mobile App lets users claim for selected extras on the spot and to check current claim limits and recent claim history by date, provider or name.

“Feedback from customers has been very valuable in better understanding how we can improve our apps,” Mr Young said.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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