PwC: Provider, consumer views on healthcare tech closely align

Healthcare providers' and consumers' views closely align when it comes to the promise digital technology holds for care, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Digitally-enabled care is no longer nice-to-have, it's fundamental for delivering high quality care," Daniel Garrett, Health Information Technology Practice Leader at PwC, said in an announcement.

PwC's Health Research Institute surveyed 1,000 physicians for the study.

Some of the findings of the report include:

  • 50 percent of consumers would use a device attached to a mobile phone for healthcare evaluations, while 42 percent of physicians would be comfortable relying on results of those tests to prescribe medication
  • About half of the physicians said digital visits could replace about 10 percent of in-office visits, and nearly as many consumers said they embrace communicating with caregivers online
  • 47 percent of consumers said mobile devices can help clinicians coordinate care more effectively, while 79 percent of clinicians thought the tool could do so.
  • 56 percent of consumers would be OK with their data being shared with other organizations if it improved care, but only 30 percent of clinicians are currently electronically sharing data with physicians outside their practice

The survey also found that privacy and payment remain barriers to using certain technologies like telemedicine. Compared to results from a similar survey by PwC in 2010, privacy and security of patient information remains the top concern for physicians, followed by lack of payment for use of mobile healthcare tech.

Only 15 percent of clinicians said they offer telehealth services to patients with chronic conditions; just 28 percent said they are considering such services, according to the report.

However, health execs are starting to embrace telemedicine in general. Ninety percent of respondents to a recent survey from Foley & Lardner LLP said they had started to develop or implement a telemedicine program.

The PwC study's authors said healthcare companies should help those providing care to make effective use of technology to "bridge the gap of time and distance between themselves and consumers."

"For healthcare, the next five years will be critical in linking data generated by these technologies with data from traditional systems and integrating that information seamlessly into clinicians' everyday practice," the authors wrote. "Companies that have strategies that combine the right incentives, people, workflows, and data will emerge as leaders."

To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)