Monday, September 20, 2010
The Effect of Digital on Patients & the Physician Relationship
While online health and pharma information-seeking has already been adopted by a critical mass of consumers, participation in more advanced health IT activities is far less common. The share of consumers using online tools and services to increase their adherence to medication or manage their conditions is still relatively low. While consumer interest in using PHRs and communicating with their physicians online is very high, only a small fraction of U.S. adults have actually adopted these activities. The share of physicians communicating with at least one of their patients via email, instant messaging, or secure online messaging services has been gradually increasing over the past seven years to about 2 in 5 physicians in 2010. But significant participation has been hindered by physician concern about liability and questions about benefit to practice efficiency, as well a lack of communication around the value proposition for both physicians and patients. Similarly, personal health record (PHR) adoption will likely remain stunted in the absence of major physician participation and education and awareness-building initiatives. Although the current administration has put a stronger focus on health IT, the majority of Americans are likely not highly motivated to maintain a PHR unless faced with a serious illness.
Consumers who take an active role in their healthcare are starting to make an impact on physicians. Virtually all U.S. physicians report that at least some of their patients discuss health information they found on the Internet during their appointments, though the average share of physicians’ patient bases doing this is still relatively low. More than half of physicians believe this research leads to a better-informed patient and over one-third feels that it leads to better treatment decisions.
Source: Manhattan Research, Taking the Pulse® v10.0 (2010), Cybercitizen Health® v9.0 (2009)