A recent poll by Harris Interactive and HealthDay reveal that people are ready to interact with doctors using their smartphones and tablets. But this demand is not being able to be met by providers who aren’t equipped to provide mHealth communications yet. These days a lot of patients are already connecting with their health providers via messages and download information from online portals, tech savvy users are also interested in tracking and uploading health metrics or receiving a diagnosis right on their smartphones.
As stage 2 of meaningful use approaches, more and more people are using online portals to find information, ask questions and book appointments. 37% out of the 2050 adults surveyed showed their interest in the same. Reminders to re-fill prescriptions and take medications were also popular on the wish list, and 35% wanted to add the ability to receive results of diagnostic tests, too. Other activities such as the ability to check blood pressure, diet and exercise tracking applications, sending body parts picture for diagnosis also ranked high on patients’ interests.
Even through patients of all age group are showing huge interest to take the next step in mHealth, the infrastructure from providers side is a bit lacking. There are few incentives to develop apps and portals to allow patients to communicate online, and physicians are already funneling the bulk of their health IT budgets into mandated initiatives like meaningful use and ICD-10. “In this country,” said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, “most doctors and hospitals have little or no incentives to provide [mHealth capabilities]. They are unlikely to offer them until it is in their interest to do so.”
Another problem that appeared from the survey was ‘Patient Privacy’. The survey showed that although 47% of the surveyors were confident about their health information’s privacy, 40% were still hesitant about securities concerning heir health information.
It’s a valid concern, says Titus Schleyer, head of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute, based at Indiana University-Purdue University. But hackers would likely be more interested in credit card numbers or social security information than blood glucose levels or pictures of diaper rash, he points out.
mHealth has a lot of promise to improve healthcare, Schleyer says, by increasing convenience while cutting costs and educating patients about their health. “But right now, none of this is mature yet. This poll shows us that the public is interested in using these apps. But the health-care system has to make it easier for them to do it.”
- Lots of Americans Want Health Care Via Their Smartphone (news.health.com)
- mHealth needs to focus on consumers (healthitplus.wordpress.com)
- Success in mHealth: When mHealth becomes just Health (healthitplus.wordpress.com)
- US smartphone users eager for more mobile health technology: poll (thenewstribe.com)