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US doctors support digital health technology

Mobile devices and apps find favour in new survey
Doctor healthcare professional HCP iPad eHealth

A majority of doctors in the US think that patients who use mobile devices as part of their healthcare can help clinicians better coordinate care, according to a new report.

PwC found that some 79% of physicians - and almost half of the general public - believe that a patient's use of mobile technology will help his or her caregivers to work more as a team.

But the consultants said there was still a need to implement more consumer-friendly technology and that the next few years would be crucial ones for the development of digital health.

Daniel Garrett, health information technology practice leader at PwC US, said: “Digitally-enabled care is no longer nice-to-have, it's fundamental for delivering high quality care. Just as the banking and retail sectors today use data and technology to improve efficiency, raise quality and expand services.”

The firm said its Healthcare Delivery of the Future report, which is based on a survey of 1,000 industry leaders, physicians, nurse practitioners and physician's assistants, suggests an increased openness among clinicians towards using digital technology.

In particular the report found support for:

  • Putting diagnostic testing of basic conditions into the hands of patients – 42% of physicians said they were comfortable relying on at-home test results to prescribe medication
  • Increasing online interactions between patients and their clinicians - half of physicians said that e-visits could replace more than 10% of in-office patient visits, and nearly as many consumers indicated they would communicate with caregivers online

  • Promoting self-management of chronic disease via health apps: around two-thirds of physicians said they would prescribe an app to help patients manage chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Simon Samaha, principal at PwC, said: "The adoption and integration of digital technology with existing healthcare processes has not yet fulfilled its potential to transform care and value for patients.

"The next five years will be critical, with leaders emerging from those who use digital technology to innovate and revamp the interactions between consumers, providers and payers."

PwC said that health plans, hospitals and pharma are all anticipating major shifts in how care is delivered, but data-sharing, consumer consent, privacy and security, fragmented workflows and digital investment still form barriers to the technology's adoption.

8th December 2014

From: Healthcare

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