Patients want technology to provide personalized care

People believe technology innovation holds the best promise for curing fatal diseases--more so than increasing the number of doctors or funding for research, according to a new survey from Intel.

The survey of 12,000 people found that most are open to virtual doctor visits and to the use of health sensors in their bodies--sometimes, even their toilets. What they want most of all, it found, is personalized care.

"This survey indicates very high willingness of people to become part of the solution to the world's healthcare problems with the aid of all sorts of technologies," Eric Dishman, Intel fellow and general manager of the company's Health and Life Sciences Group, said in an announcement.

"Most people appear to embrace a future of healthcare that allows them to get care outside hospital walls, lets them anonymously share their information for better outcomes, and personalizes care all the way down to an individual's specific genetic makeup."

Among the findings from 12,000 adults in Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States:

  • 72 percent of those surveyed are willing to see a doctor via videoconference for non-urgent appointments.
  • More than 70 percent of respondents are receptive to using toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors or swallowed monitors to collect personal health data.
  • 66 percent of respondents prefer customized care designed specifically for them based on their genetic profile or biology.
  • 53 percent said they would trust a test they themselves as much or more than if it came from a doctor.
  • 84 percent would anonymously share their personal health information, such as lab results, if it could lower medication costs or overall cost to the healthcare system.
  • Fifty-seven percent believe traditional hospitals will be obsolete in the future.

Dishman has predicted that face-to-face doctor visits will be the exception, rather than the norm, within 10 years, but also has said that the United States will not fully embrace the advances of technology as long as it continues to build more hospitals.

"Your dependency on hospitals will continue to scale if you keep building more and more of them," he said. "In turn, your innovation potential gets sucked into the gravity of the hospital and you can't even start to look at an alternative model," Dishman told FierceHealthIT in 2012

A Cisco survey previously found a similar U.S. acceptance rate for virtual doctor visits, while a study published in Telemedicine and e-Health found patients comfortable with virtual doctor visits were more likely to use a patient portal as well.

To learn more:
- read the survey results (.pdf)
- find the announcement