Consumer Attitudes About the Use of Tech in Medical Care

November 2, 2019

New survey finds more Americans rely on technology to improve their health and relationships in medical care.

The Future of Connected Care, a survey sponsored by ResMed, a global leader in sleep in respiratory cloud-connected medical device and health IT software, shows how most patients prefer to receive medical care through technology and how it can help improve patient/doctor relationships.

The survey reveals updated preferences, by over 3,000 Americans ages 18 years and older, related to the current status of health technology and the healthcare industry. It also shows the market for digital health technology will only continue to grow.

Data in the survey describes the frustrations of Americans regarding their beliefs of a “flawed” healthcare system today.

However, this survey was conducted to bring awareness on how much the U.S. population understands about preventative care, digital health technology and the respiratory diseases ResMed excels at treating, according to Carlos Nunez, ResMed’s chief medical officer.

Nunez adds that the survey was conducted to gauge:

  • Motivations around preventative care and potential barriers to practicing it.

  • Emotions, fears, and anxieties related to healthcare options and hospitalization, especially compared to out-of-hospital care.

  • Areas where people are more or less receptive to healthcare-related technology.

  • The potential that healthcare technology has for U.S. consumers and the devices they are open to using in order to engage in preventative care.

Related: The Power of Medical “Selfies”

Based on the survey’s results, some of these frustrations resulted in:

  • 78% of Americans believe it should easier to find the medical care that is best for them.

  • 68% say most of their time at a hospital isn’t with a doctor or primary care physician.

  • 63% are sick of feeling like their personal health doesn’t matter in our current system.

  • 42% avoid going to a doctor/physician because they have bad experiences.

These frustrations are steering them to taking healthcare into their own hands, with six in 10 thinking they can figure out the best treatment without going to the hospital and the same amount attempting to diagnose themselves after browsing symptoms on the internet.

About 85% of participants value their relationships with doctors and with the use of new technology today, it can help ease frustrations and continue a structured relationship, the survey says.

Patients are using these digital health tools to deepen their connection with their physicians,” Nunez says. “Over half of Americans recently surveyed agree that technology has improved their relationship with their primary care provider-and many would like to be able to communicate with their primary care physician more often. Additionally, they see an increased opportunity to accomplish this-68% want technology to play a larger role in sharing real-time medical information with their doctor/primary care physician.”

Forms of telehealth

Further results from the survey shared:

  • 47% of participants want to communicate through online chats or messaging.

  • 41% want to communicate through an app.

  • 38% want to communicate through video chat.

In addition, data shares more Americans think certain technology like robotics, AI and Virtual Reality will have the biggest impact on their personal healthcare, rather than other Americans who don’t.

“Patients are leveraging digital health tools in various forms,” Nunez says. “Two of the most popular technologies are telehealth services and remote patient monitoring. In fact, according to the survey, 56% of Americans currently monitor their health with at least one digital data collection tool. At ResMed we’ve watched this trend take hold in real-time, as the developer of cloud-connected devices which help transform care for people with chronic respiratory diseases.”

Results from the survey share users of digital devices are more motivated to engage in preventative healthcare, they are more likely to screen for high-risk conditions, exercise regularly and see a doctor or physician regularly.

In addition, eight in 10 participants agree technology has made seeking medical treatments easier and that technology has given them more peace of mind when it comes to their health, the survey says. Three in four participants agree technology has given them more time to focus on their health and technology has helped it improve.

“Patients are becoming increasingly interested in using health technology to have more say in their health journey, which includes using these tools to find care and access their health data,” Nunez says.  “For example, in the survey, seven in 10 people stated a desire to use technology to find the most cost effective and efficient care, while six in 10 noted a need for accessing medical records/data on their own terms.”

Briana Contreras is associate editor for Managed Healthcare Executive.