5 Ways to Get Patients to Adopt Technology

Are you a case manager at a claims or insurance company trying to get patients to engage with a digital program? Or perhaps your clinic offers impactful technology that patients just aren't engaging in? Maybe you're a healthcare administrator debating a third-party technology to improve patient satisfaction or lower costs, but are afraid your population simply won't use it.

Patient adoption of technology is a challenge that many providers and payers face. Just because you believe in your patient-facing technology, it doesn't mean that your patients will.

Read on as we talk through how to get more patients to adopt impactful technology that will make them better, more satisfied, and make you look like a rockstar.

Let's face it- patient technology can not only help your clinic or organization meet goals, it can be a real market differentiator. Win contracts and win over patients when you nail adoption. Learn how.

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1. It Starts w/ Technology That Doesn't Suck

Okay, first things first: the technology has to be good. If you're trying to pedal patients onto an app that you wouldn't want to use or you don't find useful, it's never going to hit. For many patients, healthcare education or surgery prep can be anxiety-inducing, daunting, and just plain boring---the technology that you use to optimize patient health and satisfaction can't be any of these things.

Regardless of how big or complicated your organization or clinic's primary are (like lowering episode of care costs, improving patient satisfaction, getting patients ready for surgery, etc.) you can find a technology that patients genuinely like.

Look for a patient-facing technology that is:

  • Written for everyone and accessible. Nobody likes to sift through medical jargon or to read something that's drier than the Nevada desert. The program should be written around a Grade 6 reading level to ensure all patients can absorb the information. This is a readability checker that uses different formulas to grade reading levels that we've used in building our content.

  • Goal-oriented and patients can visualize their progress. People like to feel accomplished and that they are going somewhere. Choose an app or digital program that takes patients on a journey, measures progress, shows them how they're ranking against peers, etc.

  • Fun?! In the same way that patients will only succeed with a program that's easy to understand, the program needs to be fun (or as fun as healthcare allows)! A boring program with plain ol' education material is lazy and patients won't connect with it. If there's no elements of fun, there's no user adoption nor engagement. Capiche?

2. Someone Needs to Man the Stand

Who on your team is going to own your technology adoption? Does this person care about the program? Do they see the benefits? Will they follow up with patients who haven't activated? Will they help push patients through to the finish line?

In clinics and surgery centers, a patient advocate or nurse navigator often takes on this role. Similarly, on the payer or third party administrator side, more and more companies are setting up nurse services branches (or individuals) to oversee technology adoption.

Sedgwick, the world's largest claims administrator use PeerWell for their newly developed surgery nurse services program. Learn more about their new surgery nurse services and how third-party technology is providing long-lasting benefits for patients and Sedgwick.

Regardless of the size of your organization, someone needs to own technology adoption. Even the easiest technology set-up that involves downloading a free app can be complicated for many patients. Patients require guidance.

Tips for Nurses or Case Managers Setting up Patients:

  • In-person set-up or the next best thing: telephone, hand-outs and emailed instructions. If you can set up patients in-person, this is great. Any troubleshooting can be done right there and then. If you cannot set up patients in real life, telephone support, hand outs, and follow-up emails with clear, short instructions are a necessary evil.

  • Follow-up. Has a patient dropped off? Call them and see what difficulties they're running into or if they have any questions or hesitations about the recommended program.

  • Work with a patient-facing technology. Does your third party technology vendor have a patient following? Do they have a track record of patients who themselves have purchased their technology/ program? If yes, this vendor probably has accessible materials on their side, and built-in customer support that helps get patients started.

3. What Does the Dashboard Say?

Any technology you give to patients should have an admin dashboard. This is where nurses or case/ utilization managers can check-in on patient progress. When considering which technology is right for your patients, ensure that this dashboard is robust with data that lets you make sure milestones are being met. From here, you can see which patients may need a little more help getting started and fully adopting the program.

4. Does Your Technology Have a Peer Element?

This is something that is commonly overlooked---especially in healthcare. If you think about why you do things, it often involves the influence or encouragement of those around you. A program that has a peer element will increase your technology adoption rate. This peer interaction doesn't mean a chat system built into the program, but some sort of leadership board, stats for how well the patient measures up against others, patient success stories, etc.

In addition, programs like PeerWell offer a support community outside of the app. PeerWell's support community of 5,000+ members is hosted on Facebook, where your patients are already active. These communities allow patients to discuss any challenges with set-up, likes and dislikes, and offer general support.

Don't overlook the power of the community-element. Any online support groups should be run by your choice technology vendor's team.

5. The App Synchs with Real-Life

In order for a patient to adopt technology, it's got to be relevant to them and what's going on in their life. It also should not be one-dimensional and only touch on "exercise" or "patient education". The more that the program takes into account medical appointments, individual health goals, or counts down to a surgery date or relevant program end-time, the better.

A well-rounded surgery optimization, surgery avoidance program, or pain management program, should track key health metrics that are relevant to what and how the patient is doing. This could mean tracking steps for weight loss goals, being a handheld device that can measure knee flexion or extension in joint replacement patients, or regularly recording and reporting emotional well-being.


Ultimately, to be adopted by patients, your digital health technology needs to bridge the gap between your services and the patient's daily life. If technology can influence what the patient does outside of your office or when off the phone, you can meet lofty patient satisfaction and other healthcare or organizational goals. When properly accessed, patients paired with the right technology can propel you forward.

Are you a case manager, nurse navigator, administrator or clinician looking to better patient satisfaction while improving your bottom line? Find out how PeerWell helps people like you do exactly this.

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Hi, I'm Grace. I write and research about hip and knee replacements, PreHab before orthopedic surgery & ReHab. Content advised or co-authored with physicians (MD) and orthopedic surgeons (OS).

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