That’s the big takeaway from a new survey released today by consultants Accenture.
More than half (56%) of the U.S. consumers surveyed have used a website to manage their health information. Nearly as many (46%) have used a mobile phone or tablet for healthcare info. And more than a third (38%) have accessed an electronic health record (EHR).
Similarly, consumer use of healthcare apps on smartphones and tablets has tripled over the past four years, from 16% in 2014 to 48% today.
To get these results, Accenture conducted an online survey from Oct. 2017 through Jan. 2018. Responses came in from just over 2,300 U.S. consumers, all over the age of 18 and split pretty evenly between men and women. However, these surveys can be self-selecting, and it’s worth noting that two-thirds (66%) of the respondents said they have a chronic health condition.
Accenture released the survey results today at HIMSS18, a big healthcare-technology conference being held this week in Las Vegas.
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The Accenture survey also asked consumers about specific healthcare technologies. Some highlights:
> Wearables: The use of wearable devices by consumers has nearly quadrupled in the past 4 years, from just 9% in 2014 to 33% today.
Even more impressive, 90% of consumers say they’re willing to share data from a wearable health device with their doctors. Nearly as many (88%) are willing to share it with a nurse or other healthcare professional. And about three-quarters (76%) are willing to share that information with a family member.
> AI: Fewer than 1 in 5 (19%) consumers say they’ve used artificial intelligence for healthcare. But many more say they’d likely use AI services for testing their blood at home (cited by 66%); estimating out-of-pocket medical expenses (61%); and engaging an intelligent virtual coach (57%).
> EHR: Close to half (44%) have accessed an electronic health record. The biggest reasons: keeping informed (cited by 36%); curiosity (19%); and ensuring the accuracy of their medical records (18%).
When asked to name the EHR information they found most helpful, consumers topped the list with test results (cited by 67%); physician notes from a visit (55%); and prescription medicine history (41%).
> Virtual healthcare: One in four (25%) have used virtual healthcare services, up from 21% just a year ago. The main benefits, they say: reducing the patient’s costs (cited by 54%); accommodating the patient’s schedule (49%); and providing timely care (43%).
The main message, according to Dr. Kaveh Safavi, leader of Accenture’s global health practice: “Consumers increasingly expect to use digital technologies to control when, where and how they receive care services.”
If you already provide tech to the healthcare sector, all this should come as good news.
And if you don’t? This might give you some new incentive to add healthcare to the verticals you do serve.