Patients increasingly trusting of remote care technology, says new report

More than half of those surveyed say online tools have helped improve their relationship with their primary care provider, with growing appetite for online chat and diagnosis tools.
By Nathan Eddy
11:44 AM

Confidence in remote care technology is gaining traction in the United States, with a survey finding 56 percent of Americans currently monitor their health with at least one digital data collection tool.

The study of 3,000 people, conducted by cloud-connected device and health IT software provider ResMed, found six in 10 respondents have diagnosed themselves after browsing symptoms on the internet – that number climbs to just over three-quarters (76 percent) among Millennials.

Perhaps surprisingly, the report indicates that digital tools have in fact deepened people’s connection with their physicians: more than half of those surveyed agreeing that technology has improved their relationship with their primary care provider.

Survey respondents also indicated they would like to be able to communicate with their PCP more often, and they see an increased opportunity to accomplish this, with 68 percent wanting technology to play a larger role in sharing real-time medical information with their doctor.

Nearly half (47 percent) said they want improved options for communicating through online chat, and 41 percent want to communicate through applications.

"It’s notable that three-fourths of those we surveyed agreed technology has given them more peace of mind when it comes to their health," Carlos Nunez, ResMed’s chief medical officer, told HealthcareITNews. "The same people who answered that question also confirmed technology has given people more time to focus on their health and has improved their health overall."

Nunez noted a major pain point identified in the survey was that Americans want technology to play a larger role in the future of their health care by helping them find care easier, communicate with their doctor more efficiently, and aid in diagnosis or treatment.

"This goes hand-in-hand with another key finding, which is that most Americans are attempting to self-diagnose and self-treat despite how much they value their relationship with their primary care physician," he said. Accordingly, in the near future, we expect digital health to evolve in order to better fill those gaps."

He explained there’s an opportunity to serve millions more through better public awareness, screening, diagnosis, and increased access to life-changing in-home devices for treating a wide variety of chronic conditions.

A quarter of those surveyed listed security of health data and records as one of their top three areas where they think technology could improve the healthcare system.

"Focus areas for security include ensuring that only the appropriate people have access to systems and data, and that the data is protected from unintended viewing through encryption and other security controls," Nunez said.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.
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