Wearable Health Tech remains our center-of-focus at Health Tech Insider. We also look at health technology advances that one can wear, touch, carry, hold, or get near. Therefore, we are interested in what’s known as the “connected patient.” The concept refers to the methods and means by which individuals communicate with healthcare, medical, and wellness entities. “Connected Health” is a bit different, referring to the ways healthcare entities such as physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical companies interact and share information with each other. Our particular interest lies in how technology changes patient connectivity, and preferably for the better.

Salesforce, one of the largest CRM (customer relations management) companies in the world, recently released its 2017 Connected Patient Report. This year’s report is a follow-up to Salesforce’s 2016 Connected Patient Report. The report is based on a survey of 2,083 U.S. adults ages 18 and older performed for Salesforce in May 2017 by Harris Poll. The survey’s primary topics of interest were doctor-patient communication, communications between patients and insurance companies, pharma’s increasing role in patient outcomes, and AI (artificial intelligence) in healthcare.

Here are some of the major findings of the study. The majority of patients — 80% — use traditional technology such as the phone to communicate with doctors. However, patients report that 35% use portals and 14% use email to view medical records or lab results. When patients communicate with health insurance providers, 83% use the phone, but 72% says it’s important for the providers to use portals, live chat, or two-way video for communicating. The majority of millennials are enthusiastic about the use of AI in healthcare because of its potential positive effects; baby boomers, on the other hand, look forward to AI giving doctors more time to be with patients and less time on administrative tasks.