When you purchase a song on your iPhone, do you have to search for it in one application then toggle over to a different application to pay for the tune and then toggle over to another application to listen it? The answer is no. The brilliance of iTunes is that you can do it all within that one application. It is a single application that performs multiple tasks.
What iTunes is and how it works did occur to me while at a conference on “healthcare innovation.” All the speakers there talked about how users would have to exit out of or toggle from the practice management software to log into a payment portal after having downloaded data.
I wondered what Steve Jobs would say about the user experience in healthcare? I imagine it would not be favorable. I asked my fellow attendees this very question. The standard response was, “This is just how healthcare works.” To me, this is just unacceptable.
There are about 300 vendors offering practice management software. I suspect most of those applications require users to toggle out to access a partner’s application. All this raises the question: why don’t practice management software vendors make the user experience a selling point?
A little reconnaissance will show that your users do not like to toggle from application to application. Case in point: moving from your practice management software to a billing application or a clearinghouse portal and then to a reconciliation spreadsheet. Toggle. Toggle. Toggle. Users want to see and do everything on one screen within the practice management software. Have it all in one place.
If you’re not attuned to the usage preferences of those dealing with your software every day, you are putting your long-term viability at risk. A kludgy user experience puts vendors at risk with the rise of new, innovative vendors willing to address design and usability as Steve Jobs did religiously.
Usability is what differentiates and provides an edge when competing for users and market share. I would suggest you look at how BlackBerry is doing today versus Apple or Samsung to see just how much value your consumers place on ease of use.
Like Apple has done, how do you keep your current customers fiercely loyal to your product, attract new ones, and drive your competitors crazy trying to keep up? Keep their experience with your product in mind at all times and move quickly to embed all functions of their day into your practice management software and eliminate the need to toggle. You create a unified user experience, put up significant barriers to switching, and drive greater revenue as your customers become your greatest salespeople. Just like Apple.
It’s worth noting the words of Steve Jobs: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and follower.” It’s time for you to be the innovator.
Tom Furr is CEO of PatientPay of Durham, NC.