A Report Like A World Atlas Of Digitalization 2019

1 July 2019
Digital Health

Despite the majority of individuals wanting access to their digital health record (DHR) and being prepared to share it more widely with healthcare professionals, insufficient data sharing currently takes place. This is especially true for data collected by individuals themselves. While around two-fifths of healthcare professionals recommend that patients track health data, such as their blood pressure (44%) or weight (39%), only 9% said that most or all of their patients share this data with them on an ongoing basis.

Technology is not improving experiences for all

The report highlights that the majority of healthcare professionals are adapting to new ways of working, with 76% reporting that they use digital health records within their hospital/practice, and 80% sharing patient information electronically with other healthcare professionals inside their health facility.

32% of healthcare professionals have shared patient information electronically with other healthcare professionals outside their health facility. 57% report that, in the past five years, their experience has been positively impacted by having access to patients’ full medical history.

Broader use of telehealth is needed to unlock its benefits

Telemedicine has yet to become a standard part of healthcare professionals’ day-to-day work, with 39% saying that they do not currently use telehealth in their practice or hospital. Furthermore, low proportions of healthcare professionals report telehealth positively impacting the patient experience over the past five years.

While a majority of individuals say healthcare in their country provides them with access to medical care when needed and 55% say that healthcare professionals are available when they need care, there is still a large gap. Many are open to using telehealth to help close this gap. 45% of the general population is open to remote consultations for non-urgent care.

Healthcare professionals becoming comfortable with AI

Healthcare professionals are most comfortable using artificial intelligence (AI) for administrative tasks, such as scheduling (64%). To help provide the highest quality care to patients, healthcare professionals’ use of AI can move beyond these tasks into spaces where there is room for growth and a more profound impact on both the healthcare professional and patient experience, including diagnosis and treatment. Healthcare professionals that have brought digital health technology into their ways of working are seeing a positive impact on the way that they and their patients experience healthcare.

Reciprocal data-sharing improve experiences

Two-fifths of healthcare professionals often/always advise their patients to track these three key indicators of health via digital health technology or mobile health apps. Only about one-tenth of healthcare professionals say most or all of their patients have shared health data from digital health technology or mobile health apps with them. Just one-third (36%) of the general population who use digital health technology or mobile health apps to track indicators regularly share data with their healthcare professionals.

Patients want ownership of their health data

The study indicates that giving patients access to their own health data makes them more likely to engage with it in a way that will improve the quality of care they receive and their overall healthcare experience. Of the individuals surveyed, those who share their health data with their healthcare professionals are more likely to rate the quality of care as good, very good or excellent (74%) compared to those who don’t share it (66%). Besides, 63% of individuals who currently do not have, or don't know if they have access to their digital health record, say they want it.

The research shows that individuals are more open to granting healthcare professionals access to their data when they have access to that data themselves. Healthcare professionals, particularly the younger generation aged 18-34 years, agree that patients having access to their health data improves the patient experience. 84% of the general population with access to their digital health record (DHR) say they want their healthcare professional to have access too. 64% of individuals who do not have access to their DHR, or don’t know if they have access, want their healthcare professional to have this access.

The challenge, now, is to encourage more individuals to share data with their healthcare professional, giving healthcare professionals access to more up-to-date and complete information that will allow for more coordinated patient care. Younger individuals’ preference for sharing data offers promise for the future.

Patients need convenience and guidance

The data suggests that there could be more significant potential for individuals’ uptake of digital health technology and mobile health apps if the usage of these technologies were more frequently recommended by healthcare professionals. There is also evidence to suggest that individuals will be more likely to use digital health technology if it’s easier to share data with their healthcare professional.

Countries moving to implement digital health technology

China and Saudi Arabia are consistent forerunners when it comes to adoption and use of all new technologies. Some other emerging markets, including India and Russia, are also excelling in specific areas. Individuals in developing countries are particularly likely to track healthcare indicators via digital health technology and mobile health apps and use that data as a prompt to take action regarding their health and contact their healthcare professional.

China has led the share of global investment and financing in the field of AI between 2013 and Q1 2018 with 60% of the global total, followed by the US (29%) and India (5%). This could be allowing China to experience more of AI’s benefits. Other emerging countries also perform strongly in the Future Health Index data when it comes to public perceptions of AI.

To read the full report here.

Philips’ fourth annual Future Health Index, based on a survey of 15,000 individuals and more than 3,100 healthcare professionals in 15 countries, explores digital health technology’s impact on the patient and healthcare professional experience.