The Long Road to Fully Realized Digital Health-are we there yet?

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It is hard to escape how technology has integrated into our daily lives. I am always struck the many heads bowed down to look at phones while walking on any city street- we are glued to our devices! How are our patterns changing for healthcare consumption via these devices in the digital age?

A new report from San Francisco based Rock Health sheds some light on consumers views on technology use in healthcare. The survey, administered to over 4000 people is in its third year of deployment and asks a variety of questions on perspectives regarding the value technology delivers in the realm of health. The main findings point to five value drivers for consumers in the era of digital health, and they are in transition as digital health solutions gain more ground and grow more sophisticated.

Five Value Drivers

The five value areas the report highlights include:
Patient empowerment,
Improved access to care,
Lower healthcare costs,
Health data ownership and,
The democratization of information.

People are using digital solutions to manage their health from day to day; this is achieved via apps and wearables to support healthy habits and symptom management. People are more able to access care anywhere, video visits and telemedicine are gaining ground, this means people can weave visits into their busy lives versus taking time off work to visit their care team.

In the digital health space, there is tremendous competition to compete on price, so consumers have more choice and cost transparency with a growing number of affordable options. People now have more access to their medical record data and can track their data over time to see patterns to increase or reduce to manage their health better. Lastly, people and their care teams have growing access to the same information that can help them navigate the complexity of the healthcare system.

The report reflects a shift in consumers toward more ownership of their health with the support of digital tools and the number of people using at least one digital tool increased from 80% to 87% in 2017. Most people are still seeking out health information online (75%), and leveraging online provider reviews to decide who to partner with for their healthcare management (58%.) Less than 25% of those surveyed are using mobile tracking, wearables, and live video telemedicine, so the latter is still being tested by consumers.

Constant Competition

The bar is always moving in digital technology. If you think about medications you take to manage short or long-term health issues you can be assured the dose you receive is reliable and has a consistent outcome; this is not the case in digital health- we want to be wowed in new ways every time we use the solution. Added value is warranted every time we open the app to keep us engaged. Digital health solutions are continually morphing to deliver this value to the consumer. This space is rapidly developing, and I will continue to track the advances in future blog posts.

Thanks for reading – Trina
(Opinions are my own)

References

Rock Health Report
https://rockhealth.com/reports/healthcare-consumers-in-a-digital-transition/

 

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