Consumers See More Digital Tech Guiding Health Decisions

Consumers See More Digital Tech Guiding Health Decisions

- March 30, 2018

According to a new survey by EY, consumers are already comfortable using digital technologies in health concerns, and many are ready for more
The EY Future of Health Survey polled 2,455 US consumers, 152 physicians, and 195 executives to get their opinions on digital health issues, now and in the future.

For their part, consumers see themselves in greater interaction with health systems supported by technology and are open to more digital interaction. Physicians, while a bit more cautious, favor the idea that the right technologies can improve patient outcomes.

More than half of consumers are fine using tech to contact their doctors and have already begun utilizing tech in this relationship. Exercise tracking is growing more prevalent as sixty-three percent have used tech to monitor health or exercise-related information daily or weekly in the past 12 months. About 60% would share this data if it would assist physicians in their treatment.

Still a sizeable percentage are receptive to even more technology but not an overwhelming majority. Thirty-six percent are interested in utilizing at-home diagnostic kits (e.g., genotyping), 33% would use smartphone-connected devices to send information to their physicians, and 21% are interested in having video consultations with their physician.

According to EY, “this kind of demand paves the way for new entrants to offer direct-to-consumer solutions that fuse biology and tech – another indicator that health is on the cusp of convergence.”

And what about physicians? How do they feel about using digital tech? In general, they feel it can reduce the burden on the health system and alleviate costs. Seventy-four percent of physicians embrace the idea of patient portals, where users can manage appointments and refill prescriptions. Seventy-one percent of physicians also indicate that the use of personal sensor-based technology will have a positive impact.

A major issue now emerging is data generated from devices. A whopping 83% of physicians said that consumer-generated data from phone apps and sensor devices could support care coordination across providers and permit more personalized care plans, notes the EY study.
What’s more, 64% of physicians are looking to technology-generated data to reduce their work and the burden on nurses.

The healthcare community and government have been concerned over health privacy issues, but consumers are open to more sharing of health information. Forty percent of consumers range “very to extremely interested” in allowing health care professionals to access their medical history for treatment planning. This includes data on symptoms, medication, biometric data (e.g., blood sugar) and treatment history.

In the final analysis, consumers are mostly interested in better, cheaper and faster healthcare treatments. As the EY survey indicates, 75% of consumers say that they would be open to sharing lifestyle information if it would help physicians treat them more thoroughly.



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