2015 Connected Patient report finds serious gaps in the use of technology for connected health care. Millennials have a solution—get with the program.
The future has spoken.
The generation of Americans that will be running the country while the rest of us are wiping food from our chins and changing our diapers – millennials (those aged 18 to 34) – want greater connectivity for exchanging health care information and better use of technology.
In fact, mobile devices, mobile apps, wearables, 3-D printing, telehealth and cutting edge devices top the list of digital health innovations that top their wish list for the future.
In its “2015 State of the Connected Patient” report, Salesforce found that among the 1,700 Americans surveyed, most who are insured and have a primary care physician, are generally satisfied with their care; however, the report cites serious deficiencies in the use of technology that would enable more connected care.
Millennials in particular spoke out.
“While traditional communication channels remain popular among patients, the next generation of patients want innovations for how they connect with providers and share information,” cites the report.
The report went on to say that millennials’ opinions are important, as their “preferences and habits represent the future of healthcare expectations, consumption and delivery.”
What do millennials want in the future?
- 71% of millennials would be interested in a doctor or other health care provider offering a mobile app to actively manage their well-being for preventive care, review health records or schedule appointments
- 63% of millennials would be interested in proactively exchanging their health data from Wi-Fi or wearable devices so they and their physician can monitor their well-being
- 61% of millennials would be interested in 3-D printing for devices such as prosthetics or hearing aids
- 60 % of millennials are interested in telehealth options such as video chat with a doctor to avoid having to travel for an appointment
- 57% of millennials in cutting edge devices such as pills that, when swallowed, could monitor their internal vital signs
“Health care came late to the digital party, which is remarkable since it is arguably our most important, expensive and information-intensive industry,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, MD, professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and author of The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age in response to the report.
“This report vividly illustrates that our increasingly wired populace wants more useful data, more connections with their physicians and more intuitive ways to access high quality healthcare. In our $3 trillion health economy, there is a bounty waiting for the companies that figure out how to meet these needs.
Other interesting findings
As the deadline approaches to enroll in the Affordable Care Act, which encourages providers and payers to remodel care through the use of technology, the report also found that fewer than 10% of insured patients use the web, e-mail or text messages to set up appointments with their physicians or health care providers.
Plus, 40% of insured patients do not communicate with their physician to manage preventive care such as monitoring their diet, checking in on exercise and providing regular health screenings.
And while thought leaders and innovators work overtime to leverage digital health and all that it promises in terms of cost savings, benefits to patients and greater accessibility, the report found patients are passive consumers of their own health.
“62% of insured patients rely on a doctor to keep track of their health data while 28% of Americans still keep track of their health data using a folder, shoebox, lockbox, drawer or another home-based system,” the report cited.
"The Affordable Care Act encourages health care providers to use technology to better connect with patients and modernize the health system," said Todd Pierce, senior vice president of health care for Salesforce. "But this data shows that patients and doctors are still using tried-and-true ways of communicating, like phone, mail and in-person visits. We are really at the starting line of connected health."
The report is based on a survey, funded by Salesforce and conducted online, within the United States between January 6 and 8, 2015.
Millennials, according to the Council of Economic Advisors in its 2014 report "15 Economic Facts about Millennials", are now the largest, most diverse generation in the US population, having grown up with technology at their fingertips and are more likely to have health care insurance during their early careers, due to the Affordable Care Act.
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