Doctors say no to wearable technology
November 17, 2015
Digital technology is bringing healthcare professionals and patients closer together, but face-to-face information from peers and pharmaceutical sales representatives remain the biggest influencers on prescribing behaviour, according to research from Cello Health Insights.
According to their doctors, patients are getting involved in their treatment decisions through self-diagnosis online. More than two-thirds of doctors surveyed agreed that many of their patients often look up their condition online prior to a consultation. And 62 per cent of doctors say patients often came to them with a diagnosis they wanted to discuss, having researched online. Four out of ten doctors surveyed said their patients often specifically ask for a named prescription having diagnosed themselves online.
Despite 41 per cent of doctors surveyed agreeing that health apps could be a game changer, globally just 36 per cent said they were likely to recommend such an app to their patients in future. Currently, the main reasons for recommending mobile health apps are diet and weight loss (70%), general health and fitness activity (65%), health monitoring (53%), smoking cessation (49%), and compliance (45%).
Just over a third of doctors surveyed say they were likely to recommend wearable technology to patients in the future, although there are significant geographical variations in this figure (US 43%, UK 33%, highest in Brazil 67%). The main barrier to recommendation of wearable tech and health apps was a concern that not all patients have smartphones (28%), followed by possible inconsistent use of the app leading to incomplete data (14%), perceived issues in integrating with existing health electronic management systems (11%) and doctors not having the time or necessary skills to make use of the data (10%).
The findings are from research conducted with doctors across eight markets – UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, USA, China and Brazil. The research explores ways in which doctors are interacting with digital communications channels and digital devices in the workplace – focusing specifically on how doctors are using these to exchange information and communicate with peers, pharmaceutical sales representatives and patients.