Survey: Doctors Worried We Know Too Much With mHealth So AvailableAvaya
We’ve all pretty much come to embrace mobile health. It’s helped me track my fitness goals. It’s made a friend’s life easier because her mom can now stay out of the hospital and be monitored safely from home for chronic heart disease. It’s even helped others modify their sleep habits.
Yes, we’re all loving it. But the doctors? Not so much.
A recent PwC survey finds that while about half of consumers believe mobile health technology will improve healthcare, and are enthusiastically using it, most doctors are not so convinced, according to a story by Paul Cerrato.
Could it be because the survey found that 59 percent of those who use some form of mobile health technology say it has replaced visits to doctors and nurses?
“Only 27 percent encourage patients to use mHealth apps in order to become more active in managing their health; 13 percent actively discourage it,” Cerrato quotes the report, Emerging mHealth: Paths For Growth.
Interestingly, at least to me, the survey revealed that 64 percent of physicians “worry that mHealth makes patients too independent,” Cerrato writes, adding that, in a video posted on the PwC website, Christopher Wasden, PwC global healthcare innovation leader says, “Consumers are now empowered with information on price, services, wait times, and quality. … So they start making decisions like they would in any other marketplace.”
Do doctors fear that if we have increased mobile access to medical information, they’ll lose control of how medicine is practiced and – drum roll, please – lose income?
And we’re not the only ones. Based on two separate surveys by the Economist Intelligence Unit and an analysis of 10 nations, the report found that developing nations “are more quick to accept and adopt telehealth because it’s seen as a way to increase access to healthcare, while developed nations like the United States are being dogged down by regulatory hurdles and a resistance to change among providers,” according to Erik Wicklund of HIMSS.
To be fair, I wouldn’t like it either if someone stood over my shoulder reading my notes, or what I was writing, then changed it without my permission.
It’s hard to see why people learning more about their health could be a bad thing, especially in these days when so many suffer from obesity and all the conditions that come with it.
With 35.7 percenting as obese in this country, you’d think physicians would be glad we’re trying to take our health into our own hands. of the adult population and 16.9 percent of children qualify
But many physicians worry that their traditional role will weaken as consumers use mobile health apps or access websites on their smartphones to gain more control of their own care, Cerrato writes. If one doctor charges $1,000 less than another for a colonoscopy, who do you think people will choose? That’s probably not entirely what they’re afraid of but if we now have the ability to find out – and compare – what minor surgeries cost and see the complication rates for local physicians, we’re “empowered to choose the clinicians who offer the best service for the most reasonable fee,” according to Cerrato.
In fact, just last week United Healthcare came out with myHealthcare Cost Estimator, to help patients choose among doctors doing the same procedures.
But physicians are worried about more than just their pocketbooks, Cerrato writes. Many worry that we may err when we self-diagnose, and even self-medicate. These concerns are legitimate. But patients feel a little more in control of their health than ever before and I can’t really say it’s a bad thing. I know I did all my homework when I was diagnosed with a serious illness, and it was a handy thing to have the information available to me. Would I try to diagnose myself? Probably not. I’m a hypochondriac and as my husband says, love to go to the doctor.
Not really. But I do know where my knowledge ends and theirs begins. And I’m still willing to throw my lot in with them.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey