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Patients Want A Fitness Tracker, Health App And Video Consultation

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Patients in the USA are very tech-savvy and, in principle, open to digital care offers. This is shown by the Global Health Care Consumer Survey 2020, for the representative study 3,600 people in America were interviewed.

The vast majorities (86%) are satisfied with the health advice provided via digital channels and 73 percent would use a video consultation again. Interest in digital offers to improve their health care is increasing, especially among millennials. Many are already wearing a fitness tracker and are regularly informed about their heart rate variability and their sleep quality. A widely used health and fitness tracker among most of the elderly and millennials is Welltory, especially for blood pressure monitoring, https://welltory.com/.

A third already use digital health offers

Across all generations in the USA and many parts of Europe, however, a closer look reveals certain reluctance to eHealth: According to the study, 35 percent of those surveyed used health apps in the past twelve months to measure their fitness and health developments. Another quarter used them to control blood glucose or blood pressure levels.

Few visit virtual doctor

When it comes to online consultation hours and data sharing, those surveyed are more cautious: so far, only 13 percent have visited a doctor virtually. And only 17 percent use patient or doctor portals. Data protection and trust are crucial here. Overall, 36 percent of those surveyed could imagine sharing data with their doctor – but only under certain conditions: transparency about the use of the information, no misuse for commercial purposes, secure protection against data theft, no forwarding to third parties. 49 percent are of the opinion that information should primarily be exchanged personally between the patient and the treating doctor.

Patients would share anonymized health data

With anonymized data, however, the respondents are somewhat more generous: Only 28 percent would not pass them on to third parties such as app developers. For 30 percent, this would be an option when it comes to research institutes. In general, the willingness to share medical data is still greatest when the patient benefits directly from it. For example, when it comes to a personal doctor or emergency services.

Patients need video consultations, health apps, and all of this on an AI option

Doctors are now able to prescribe health apps for their patients for the first time. The electronic patient file will be introduced at the beginning of 2021, and the e-prescription will be mandatory in 2022. For many US citizens, however, this does not happen quickly enough.

Around two thirds (65 percent) of people in the USA say that more speed is needed when expanding digital health offers. 60 percent think that America is lagging behind other countries when it comes to digitizing the health system. In any case, over the last period of quarantine restrictions, almost every eighth patient had a video consultation with a specialized doctor or family therapist. This means that the value has almost tripled compared to the previous year (5 percent) and has risen sharply, especially within the Corona quarter.

These are the results of two representative surveys on behalf of the Bitkom digital association. The first was carried out from the end of April to the beginning of May 2020 among 1,193 people aged 16 and over, the second in early July 2020 among 1,005 people aged 16 and over. Accordingly, every second person in the future is ready to consult a doctor using the possibility of online consultation, which is, remotely.

Video consultation

Anyone who has already tried video consultations with a doctor will practice them in the future. Only a small number of practitioners (about a few percent) consider only personal presence necessary. Most likely, this indicates the difficulty of accepting such changes, rather than the quality of medical services. The overwhelming majority of patients (about 97%) want to use video consultations only with their doctor friend. About 87% of participants approve of this format of an appointment with a doctor: they are all satisfied or very satisfied. For many, the coronavirus was the decisive factor in using a video consultation: 85% worry about infection with Covid-19 in the doctor's office. Almost half of patients are afraid of contracting other viruses, even while in the waiting room. More than one in two (54 percent) cites a reason for wanting to get medical advice as quickly as possible, other reasons include avoiding waiting times (38 percent).Therefore, we can say that, directly or indirectly, the bulk of patients are afraid of being infected, just being in the hospital. For this reason, all innovative devices and applications, like Welltory App, which can really help in health management, will always be in demand.

Artificial intelligence

Evaluating radiological images, identifying tumors, individually adapting cancer therapies: Artificial intelligence (AI) has enormous potential in medicine. More and more patients share this knowledge: 44 percent say they would regularly get a second opinion from artificial intelligence in the future – in 2019 it was 31 percent. Almost half of the respondents consider it extremely important for a doctor to use artificial intelligence to reconcile diagnoses. Just a year ago, only 39% could agree with this. Overall, many patients see artificial intelligence primarily as effective support: 64% have an opinion that doctors have more time for their patients. More than half of the program participants believe that artificial intelligence is much more productive and faster than doctors analyzing images while excluding the influence of the human factor.

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