‘Wired populace’ needs better connection to healthcare

February 13, 2015 in Medical Technology

Despite ubiquitous information technology, patients and physicians still overwhelming rely on “tried-and-true” modes of communications, such as phone calls and in-person consults, according to a new report.

[See also: Vendors lagging with patient engagement technology]

The “2015 State of the Connected Patient” report, published by Salesforce, polled more than 1,700 insured adults who have primary care physicians. It found “serious inefficiencies” when it comes to deploying technology for more connected care, according to Salesforce data.

Fewer than 10 percent of insured patients use online portals, email or text to set up appointments, the survey finds.

Meanwhile, so-called Millennials are clamoring for new technologies to enable better collaboration with their primary care docs: 60 percent of 18-to-34 year-olds, for instance, support the use of telehealth options to eliminate in-person visits, and 71 percent would prefer their providers to use mobile apps to book appointments and share health data.

“Healthcare came late to the digital party, which is remarkable since it is arguably our most important, expensive and information-intensive industry,” said Robert Wachter, MD, professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, in a press statement highlighting the study.

“This report vividly illustrates that our increasingly wired populace wants more useful data, more connections with their physicians and more intuitive ways to access high quality healthcare,” added Wachter, author of the forthcoming book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age. “In our $3 trillion health economy, there is a bounty waiting for the companies that figure out how to meet these needs.”

Read Healthcare IT News‘ QA with Wachter here.

Other findings from the 2015 State of the Connected Patient report include:

  • Insured patients most commonly review their health data in-person (40 percent); get test results in person (44 percent); and even pay their health bills in person (38 percent);
  • 76 percent of patients are “confident” their doctors share health records between them;
  • 62 percent of insured patients rely on a doctor to keep track of their health data while 28 percent of Americans still keep track of their health data using a folder, shoebox, lockbox, drawer or another home-based system;
  • 40 percent of insured patients say they do not communicate with their physician to manage preventive care;
  • 71 percent of Millennials would be interested in a doctor/provider offering a mobile app to actively manage their well-being for preventive care, review health records or schedule appointments;
  • 63 percent of Millennials would be interested in proactively providing their health data from Wi-Fi/wearable devices so their care providers can monitor their well-being.?

“The Affordable Care Act encourages healthcare providers to use technology to better connect with patients and modernize the health system,” said Todd Pierce, senior vice president of healthcare for Salesforce, in a press statement. “But this data shows that patients and doctors are still using tried-and-true ways of communicating, like phone, mail and in-person visits. We are really at the starting line of connected health.”

He added, in a blog post: “While this is an exciting time for providers, as they have the opportunity to match an eager populace with new technology tools, it should also serve as a wake-up call that they need to strengthen relationships with their patients or risk losing them to more modern, competitive health systems.”

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/wired-populace-needs-better-connection-healthcare

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