Although patients are interested in using health IT, more work is ahead to make these tools usable per patient preferences.
Patients and providers agree that technology is the key to driving a more consumer-centric healthcare experience, but some improvements are needed to fully create buy-in and engagement, according to a new survey from healthcare consulting firm EY.
In the wake of industry shifts toward value-based care models, health IT has been both a catalyst and a result. Technology has enabled providers to nudge patients outside of the care facility and create a holistic health experience. Conversely, the tools have flourished in an industry environment where consumers are looking for an “anytime, anywhere,” healthcare experience.
“In the health care space, consumers are already using the internet of things and applications to gather personal data on everything from how they eat, to when they exercise, to when and how much they sleep,” EY researchers wrote in a report. “The data from today’s tools offer a window into the factors outside the clinic that influence health, and are enabling new models of care.”
But the growth of health IT has not unfolded perfectly, and leaders are still working to find the best path forward for technology and patient engagement. As developers work to pinpoint the exact features that will best serve patients where they are at, they must also identify the tools that will fit into the healthcare of tomorrow.
The healthcare market is flooded with various medical technologies targeted to enhance patient engagement in care, and a majority of patients have reported a readiness and willingness to adopt them.
But only 67 percent of patients said they have actually engaged with administrative healthcare apps, and only 47 percent have used a diagnostic technology.
These lapses in patient use point to a path forward for health IT developers who must tap into patient and provider needs to create tools that will be truly meaningful.
At the core of those patient needs is convenient, inexpensive care. Fifty-nine percent of patients said they’d be willing to adopt a health IT tool if it made their healthcare less expensive. Add to that features that make healthcare more convenient and that number jumps to 79 percent.
Features that will reduce patient wait times, in addition to the above-mentioned factors, would push 88 percent of patients to adopt. Adding in patient data access would spur 93 percent of patients to use health technology.
Clinicians agree that integrating health IT into the patient experience is important and will in fact allow them to do their jobs better. Specifically, doctors are looking for the following patient data:
- Lifestyle choices
- Biometric data
- Dietary information
- Exercise habits
- Patient-reported outcomes
- Genetic information
- Grocery shopping habits
The survey showed that patients are only just becoming ready to share their medical information with their providers. While 82 percent said they were interested in data sharing, there were some limits to this mindset.
Patients specifically said they would be interested in sharing their biometric, lifestyle, dietary, care outcomes, genomic, and physical activity data with their providers.
However, fewer were interested in sharing more personal information about their social and economic status. Few patients expressed willingness to share information about their grocery shopping habits or financial status, for example.
Apprehension may be lingering from past concerns about data security, the survey suggested. Fifty-seven percent of patients said they were worried their data could be shared with a third party without their consent, while 51 percent said they believed their data could be used against them.
These results indicate that patients and their providers may not be ready for a full technology revolution in healthcare and that changes must be strategic.
For example, developers may begin by investing in areas where patients have already expressed interest. Building out telehealth, patient portals, and technologies used in retail and urgent care clinics will be most effective.
Additionally, developers may invest in tools that patients and providers both agree with come to define healthcare into the future. This may include digital health apps, smartphone tools, and analytics tools that will enhance care deliver and coordination.
In making these considerations, developers can position themselves as a part of a technology evolution, gathering patient engagement and uptake along the way.
Date: June 21, 2019