Tech and data use is improving doctor-patient relations and autonomy.
U.S. consumer confidence in remote care technology is climbing, according to 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.
The survey of 3,000 people found that 56% of Americans currently monitor their health with at least one digital data collection tool.
“Consumers are becoming more trusting due to a combination of factors: the rapid growth of digital capabilities that deliver improved access and convenience across nearly every other aspect of their lives [e.g., online shopping, food delivery, transportation, etc.]; and the fact that other industries seem to have achieved a high level of security with sensitive information [e.g., online banking and other payment services],” says Paul Crnkovich, managing director and leader of Kaufman Hall’s consumer practice.
“Millennials are now the largest population cohort and are ‘digital natives,’ i.e., they are comfortable and more trusting with a broad range of technologies because they have literally grown up with them,” Crnkovich says.
Additionally, value-based care has had a positive ripple in the industry, according to David Lucas, chief strategy officer, Vivify Health, a leader in connected healthcare delivery solutions, located in Plano, Texas.
“Consumers are getting more transparency from their care team and providers,” Lucas says. “Patients now have more access to their own health records than ever before with post-care print outs, lab results, and the ability to have follow-up appointments with their care team. As technology becomes easier and more intuitive for patients with chronic conditions to connect with their own physicians and health plans, consumers are finding that they are becoming more engaged in improving their health.”
Despite the promise of virtual health technologies, consumer adoption has been relatively slow, according to Crnkovich.
“Our research shows that this is largely the result of a lack of education [i.e., how do you use this exactly?], and the lack of use case prioritization and planning when new technologies are brought into the healthcare system,” he says. “The best path for adoption is ‘doctor recommended’-have physicians introduce the capability to their patients and identify examples where it would be particularly appropriate and advantageous-a post-op visit is a classic case. In this way, the patient knows that his or her doctor thinks it’s a good idea, thereby breaking down the barriers to trial while also strengthening the doctor-patient relationship.”
The trust between physician and patient can now be leveraged to impact and deliver care beyond the four walls of the hospital, including in the comfort of the patient home, according to Lucas.
“By enabling the opportunity through remote care technologies for patients to be educated, share data, and engage virtually with their care teams from their homes, healthcare executives now have the enhanced ability to empower patients today to more proactively manage their health, which results in fewer trips to the emergency department and undesirable hospital inpatient stays,” he says. “Executives can now customize an approach specific to the patient’s chronic or other clinical condition, taking into consideration all factors including social determinants of health.”
Tracey Walker is managing editor of Managed Healthcare Executive.