The U.S. healthcare industry has traditionally been highly risk-averse and has allowed other industries to serve as test beds for new technologies. It’s a logical approach, considering the mandate for healthcare providers to deliver maximum positive outcomes and the need to meet regulatory burdens. One of the driving forces behind change across industries, though, is customer demand.
Today, with a number of connected health services available from many providers, and as new products and solutions are introduced to market, patients are seeing the benefits and demand for connected healthcare is growing.
One of the key benefits of connected health is access to a greater base of healthcare providers, including specialists who are best positioned to treat specific conditions. It’s a fact patients have realized and 78% of consumers would like to have access to a menu of care options that includes both local providers as well as specialists, regardless of location. A majority of patients say they want to have virtual visits with the PCPs – including 74% of parents with children under the age of 18. Perhaps even more telling is telehealth services are starting to overtake other factors when it comes to choice of providers, with 20% of consumers saying they would be willing to switch to PCPs that offer telehealth options.
Patient Information Sharing
In addition to recognizing the value of remote care, patients also understand that their records are vital to better health outcomes and see access to medical records as a key factor in better care. They see a need for physicians to be able to easily share patient records in order to ensure the best treatments. In fact, 97% of patients say it’s important for all healthcare providers, regardless of location or specialty, to have access to full patient records to facilitate better care. But, patients are also showing signs of becoming more involved in their own health management and 92% say having access to their own records is a priority. Connected health solutions can provide effective mechanisms for patient data to be shared between providers, including medical images to which specialists often need access. Likewise, online portals can ensure patients have access to their own records and can even update them as conditions change or more data becomes available, ensuring physicians have the most accurate data possible.
Digital Device Dominance
There’s little doubt as to the acceptance of digital devices, considering 84% of U.S. households have at least one smartphone, and a third have more than three. When considering computers, tablets, and streaming media devices, that figure is even higher. What’s even more important is that 64% of patients are already using their digital devices for health management and 71% believe it’s important for physicians to have access to that information. This sets the stage for increased use of patient portals and apps that allow patients to update information. It also is a sign that Remote Patient Monitoring, which is already being used to deliver better and more convenient care for a variety of conditions, is likely to become even more widely accepted.
While there are other factors that play into the growth of connected health, including physician acceptance and adoption, the fact that patients are not increasingly seeing the value of leveraging modern technology to not only receive better care, but to also become more engaged with their physicians, should motivate providers to increase their use of these solutions.
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