Majority of Americans don’t use digital technology to access doctors
Nielsen survey shows gaps in availability that must be fixed to improve patient care
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 04, 2015) – Today, Americans manage much of their lives through digital and electronic tools, except when it comes to healthcare. According to a new Nielsen survey released today by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices and the Bipartisan Policy Center, a majority of Americans are unaware of or don’t have access to the technology they could use to communicate with their doctors for better quality health care.
“Having ready access to a doctor is vital to high quality healthcare. Yet the busy schedules of consumers and physicians alike often prevent timely attention to routine and urgent healthcare problems in the traditional 9 to 5 physician office visit options. Digital technologies can help overcome the barriers to accessing medical care, yet our survey shows that these tools are not available to most Americans,” said Robert Pearl, M.D., Chairman of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group. “Healthcare providers must step up our adoption of these common-sense and available solutions if we are truly going to reform healthcare delivery.”
Results from those surveyed showed that:
- Less than half – 45 percent – receive even the traditional telephone appointment reminders.
- Only one in five – 21 percent – have access to online appointment scheduling with their doctors.
- Fifteen percent use email to communicate with their provider.
- Just 14 percent have 24/7 access to medical advice.
- Fewer than one in ten – 9 percent – receive reminders by text.
- Only a small percentage – 3 percent – are able to send a photo of a medical condition over email.
- Just 2 percent have access to video visits.
The data also showed that consumers who don’t currently have access to their providers through electronic or digital communications are most interested in ready access and online interactions: 36 percent preferred traditional telephone-based medical advice, while 34 and 36 percent, respectively, expressed interest in one-way engagement such as online appointment scheduling and online portals to access test results.
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