New tool helps hospitals ID patients with smartphones

Creating an app or other mobile technology is only the first step for hospitals hoping to engage their patients on their mobile devices. The second--and just-as-tough--task is to figure out which patients have smartphones, and how they're using them. FierceMobileHealthcare talked to James Hallick, senior vice president of research and product development for Madison, Wis.-based CPM Marketing Group about a new product his company has created, one that he says can do just that.

CPM just debuted the new "smartphone owner identification" predictive model that Hallick says can determine what segment of a hospital's patient population uses smartphones, and how best to reach them. The genesis of the idea: CPM's hospital customers are developing hospital apps in droves, but most aren't sure how to publicize them, he says. Traditional marketing lists don't normally identify whether the individuals have a regular cell phone or smartphone, making it tough to know where (or how) to send marketing messages.

So CPM surveyed its own consumer database, asking whether individuals had smartphones, and whether they use them for healthcare purposes. Their findings: About 25 to 30 percent of their database have smartphones, and most use them to engage in some way with healthcare providers. Analyzing the survey data, CPM identified key data such as gender, age, profession and other indicators of whether a patient is likely to own a smartphone, developing that into a predictive model, Hallick explains.

CPM then takes its hospital customers' internal lists of patients and other interested parties, runs it through the predictive model and determines which patients are the best targets for smartphone-related marketing.

"We're working with our clients to develop and market and mobile apps. But, we have to be able to easily identify smartphone users to market to them," Hallick says. "We'll apply the model to find those likely to own a smartphone, then promote the smartphone app."

Ultimately hospitals could use the technology to identify good candidates for smartphone-enabled education, clinical interventions, scheduling reminder services and more, Hallick adds.

To learn more:
- read CPM's announcement