Wearable health technology for assistance, measuring, monitoring, reporting, and alerts are growing in popularity with patients, but the medical community’s support is crucial for the adoption and greater use of Health Tech devices, especially technologies used by patients remotely.
A recent survey by the Nielsen Strategic Health Perspectives group released jointly by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices and the Bipartisan Policy Center reveals that while patients value and want greater access to technology, even for basic telephony services as well as online contact, more want access than currently have it. The survey also showed that most physicians are not convinced greater patient remote access to telephony services, online access, or other technology is valuable or useful and that few physicians use such technology themselves.
During the summer of 2015 Neilsen surveyed 5014 patients and 626 physicians. Among the specific results found are that while 36% of patients would like 24/7 access to telephone advice, only 14% currently have it. Text reminders for appointments are desirable for 28% of the surveyed patients but only 9% can get reminders sent to their phones. Only 11% are able to ask questions online of their health care providers but 30% would like that ability. The numbers are higher for physician access to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) themselves from the patients’ perspective: 61% say their doctors are able to access EMRs and 77% think doctors should have that capability. In surveying physicians, Neilsen found in general that doctors are very low users themselves of telemedicine and more than half don’t think it’s important or even good for their patients and they don’t recommend it often.
With most people in the U.S. cut off from even basic online or telephony access to healthcare and physician adoption and support relatively low, the need for change is clear, especially if telemedicine and other remote access technology can save time and money for all involved. The majority of patients are not yet aware of or looking for increased access and remote services, but the number is growing and suggests an opportunity to improve care service delivery.