Internet, mobile phone become popular platforms for accessing healthcare

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 03, 2013

Mobile devices

More healthcare seekers are looking to technology to help receive better services from the healthcare givers. According to a new study Cisco Customer Experience Report, conducted by Cisco, it found that globally there is a growing shift in consumer’s expectations on medical services in India. It examined perceptions of consumers and healthcare decision makers (HCDMs) on patient experience in healthcare.

The report shows that as information, technology, bandwidth and the integration of the network become the centre of the new world, both human and digital aspects are key parts to the overall patient experience. These components lead to more real-time, meaningful patient and doctor interaction.

The study studied the views of the consumers and HCDMs on sharing personal health data, participating in in-personal medical consultation verses remote care and using technology to make recommendations on personal health. Views on these topics sometimes differed widely between the two groups (consumers and HCDMs) in the 10 geographies surveyed.

The global report included responses from 1,547 consumers and HCDMs globally, with a consistent sample size of around 200 local respondents in each of the 10 countries surveyed.

The indicative trends in India were indeed surprising. Of the 200 respondents surveyed in India, 94 percent are comfortable storing their health records with a high degree of security in the cloud so that a healthcare provider can access it easily.

While privacy and security ranked very high in the priority list for HCDMs and consumers, 75 percent HCDMs believe the data protection is adequate for protecting health/ medical data privacy and only 64 percent of the consumers felt it was adequate.

Nearly half of the consumers and two-thirds of the HCDMs said they were comfortable getting health information through social media channels. Indians expressed a greater than average comfort level in sharing and receiving health information through social media channels. In return, even a larger proportion of HCDMs feel comfortable providing health information to consumers via social media channels.

It is not surprise then that the same percentage of consumers—50 percent—think it would really help if their healthcare provider presented appointment reminders, information for managing drug side effects and treatment reminders via social media.

About 75 percent of HCDMs say that consumers would be willing to share a variety of health information via social media websites while 35 percent of consumers feel the same.

The report also found that while consumers preferred the face-to-face interaction with the doctors however, three-quarter of the consumers were comfortable with the use of technology for the clinician interaction. Of those surveyed 88 percent of the consumers said they were comfortable with communicating about healthcare with their doctors using technology instead of seeing them in person. The consumers said they would rather use virtual technology like video chatting, or text messaging for a health condition. Also 75 percent of the consumers would prefer to consult with a specialist using virtual technology rather than consulting with a less-experienced professional.

More than half of consumers said they access upcoming healthcare appointments, lab reports, physician visit notes and prescription electronically.

And 76 percent of HCDMs said they would prefer to use technology over a 1-2-1 interaction and 76 per cent of them said it would benefit the patient’s care if healthcare providers were able to monitor conditions using remote monitoring devices that send health information automatically.

As machines become connected and networked, they play an even larger role in the overall healthcare experience. Interest in accessing health information on mobile devices is growing rapidly. Nearly 30 percent of the respondents confirmed using health and fitness or medical apps on their mobile phones.

About 87 percent of consumers said they would trust a machine designed to diagnose their overall health and provide a medical recommendation determining whether or not they needed to see a doctor. And 69 percent of the consumers said they use the Internet for a variety of healthcare activities.

“Virtual healthcare is no longer a myth. The state of convergence between the physical and digital world has raised the expectations of consumers and the same time expanded scope for healthcare providers to take their engagement further with more collaboration and information, “ said Vishal Gupta, VP/ General Manager, Global Healthcare Solutions, Cisco.