Doctors Think Wearables Are No Good for Patients
November 4th 2015: Cello Health Insight publishes a report today summarising findings from research conducted with doctors across 8 markets; including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US, China and Brazil. The research explores ways in which doctors are interacting with digital communication 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.
The research consisted of 1,090 fifteen-minute interviews, conducted online with panel provider M3 Global Research.
Face-to-face communication still biggest influence on doctors’ prescribing behaviour. Digital technology is bringing healthcare professionals and patients closer together, but face-to-face information from peers, KOLs and pharmaceutical sales representatives remain the biggest influencers on prescribing behaviour.
Patients’ online diagnosis leading to requests for specific drugs. According to their doctors, patients are getting involved in their treatment decisions through self-diagnosis online. 69% of doctors surveyed agreed that many of their patients often look up their condition online prior to a consultation.
62% of doctors say that patients often came to them with a diagnosis that they wanted to discuss (having researched online). 40% of doctors surveyed said that their patients often specifically ask for a named prescription having diagnosed themselves online.
Doctors reluctant to recommend apps and wearables to patients, yet. Despite 41% of doctors surveyed agreeing that health apps could be a ‘game changer’, globally just 36% said they are 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%).
36% of doctors surveyed say they are 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%).
Doctors Embracing Digital Technology – But Are Reluctant To Prescribe Apps And Wearables For Patients
Face-to-face communication still biggest influence on prescribing behaviour, says new report
Digital technology is bringing healthcare professionals and patients closer together – but face-to-face information from peers, KOLs and rep visits remain the biggest influencers on prescribing behaviour – that is one of the key findings of a global online survey of healthcare professionals published by market research agency Cello Health Insight.
The firm’s second annual Digital Health Debate report also reveals that 62% of doctors say that patients often attend surgery with a self-diagnosis from web research, with 40% saying that patients often specifically request named prescriptions from online research – although there is significant geographical variation in this figure, with the figure rising to 65% in Italy and 45% in the US, whilst the UK sits lower than the global average at 28%.
The report, which looks in detail at how doctors use digital technology, shows that 77% regularly use their smartphones at work for professional purposes. The figure for the US is 73%, in the UK 82%. However, despite embracing digital technology themselves, only 36% of doctors are likely to recommend a mobile health app to patients in the future, and just one in ten doctors globally own a fitness band – with only half of those using it regularly at work.
“Digital technology is, however, bringing doctors and patients closer together: it is interesting that medical professionals are as likely to use websites designed with patients in mind as they are those aimed solely at doctors.”
“Doctor, I’ve done my own diagnosis and know what medication I need”
Patients clearly have a thirst for medical knowledge, and the trend for researching – and identifying – one’s own diagnosis shows no sign of abating.
· 69% of doctors said that their patients look up their condition prior to a consultation, rising to 90% in Brazil, and 72% in the US and UK.
· 62% of doctors agreed that patients often come to them with a diagnosis they want to discuss having researched online. This figure rises to 87% in Brazil, 68% in the US and 63% in the UK.
· 40% said that patients often specifically ask for a named prescription having diagnosed themselves online – a 4% increase from when the same question was asked in 2014. In Italy the figure is 65%, in the US 45%, whilst in the UK it is lower than average at 28%.
What’s App, Doc? Only a third of doctors recommend mobile apps
Despite 41% of doctors agreeing that Mobile Apps could be a ‘game changer’, globally just 36% said they are likely to recommend a Mobile Health App to their patients, with the biggest barrier being the fact that not all patient have smartphones (and therefore the need for a universal system).
· In the UK 33% are likely to recommend a Mobile Health App to patients in the future. In the US, the figure is 43%.
· The main reasons for recommending Mobile Health App use were: Diet and Weight Loss (70%), General Health and Fitness activity (65%), Health Monitoring (53%), Smoking Cessation (49%), and Compliance (45%).
· The biggest barriers to recommendation of wearable tech and Mobile Health Apps were: not all patients have smartphones (28%), possible inconsistent use of the app, leading to incomplete data (14%), integration with existing health electronic management systems (11%) and doctors not having the time or necessary skills to understand the data (10%).
Where are the wearables?
Ownership of fitness tracking bands amongst doctors globally is just 9% (although 15% in the US) and 5% say they regularly wear a fitness tracking band while at work (11% in the US, 5% in the UK). 36% of doctors say they are likely to recommend a wearable technology device to patients in the future, although there are significant geographical variations in this figure (US 43%, UK 33%, highest in Brazil 67%).
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Image by Cello Health Insight