As the U.S. healthcare system continues to increase its focus on digital health initiatives, 2019 saw continued growth in digital applications that sought to improve patient engagement and empower them to become better decision-makers. This is the new standard not only for the U.S. healthcare system but for global health care in general, with 2019 seeing the introduction of Lancet Digital Health and Nature Digital Medicine, two respected journals. These digital health initiatives derive from the maturation of the industry, as the digital health market shifts from primarily early-stage startups and private financing, to public markets and IPOs. A major point that Rock Health laid out in their 2019 Digital Health Market Insight report is that even though investment in digital health dipped, veteran investors exhibited a steady commitment to the industry.
According to a survey by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the vast majority (82 percent) of adults want their health care information delivered in a way that is more concise and simpler to understand. On the consumer/patient side, while Americans generally hold a favorable outlook on the inherent benefits of health technology, the biggest hurdle in greater adoption of integrated health technology appears to be privacy concerns. Highlighted in two surveys published in January 2020 show that the value of privacy protection outweighs the ease of access to health information. The healthcare industry is a prime target for hackers due to the astronomical amount of sensitive patient information medical facilities manage.
When it comes to transparency in health care, patients overwhelmingly want two things – for the information to be clear, concise, and customized, and for their privacy to be protected. Any new rules must ensure we protect patient privacy, reduce health care costs, and get personalized information into the hands of patients. – Matt Eyles, AHIP President & CEO
A survey from Kantar that’s linked in the above statement shows that 53 percent of Americans agree or strongly agree that technology is driving a more connected relationship with healthcare providers. Also, 62 percent agree or strongly agree that technology allows them to be more in touch with their personal healthcare. While these results are great, the roadblock comes with privacy concerns. Kantar found that of those surveyed only 38 percent believe proper safeguards are in place to protect their personal health data, with around 36 percent saying they don’t believe proper safeguards are in place. This should be concerning to healthcare organizations and digital health companies looking to penetrate the market.
Although privacy concerns are of greatest concern to Americans, both studies show confidence in that technology can be used to promote more direct relationships with healthcare providers. Patients and consumers deserve better access to personalized, actionable health care information to enable them to make better, more informed decisions without driving up healthcare costs or compromising the privacy of their personal health data. And according to a new survey from Morning Consult, on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the importance of privacy protection outweighs the ease of access to health information.
Privacy concerns are not just being talked about due to these two surveys; Privacy was certainly top of mind during many of the sessions at CES 2020 that concentrated on digital health topics. For healthcare organizations, the pace of telehealth adoption is accelerating driven by a desire to expand access to care, make care more convenient, identify talent gaps/shortages, enhance care coordination, better monitor and treat at-risk populations, and grow population health programs.
The evolution of digital health is one of the biggest sources of rapid change in the US healthcare system. There are several strategies healthcare organizations consider before implementing digital health technologies. In some cases, healthcare provider organizations may align their digital health approach with organizational strategy. Other organizations may shift their focus to implementing the most appropriate technologies to simplify business processes, improve operational efficiencies, streamline the patient experience, improve patient outcomes, and increase profitability. Transparency should support and promote patient decision-making, should not weaken competitive negotiations that lower patients’ health care costs, and should put descending pressure on premiums for consumers and employers.
While healthcare organizations are generally well-prepared with basic tools such as patient portals, more complex unified communication platforms are somewhat more of a challenge. – Janet King, Senior Director of Market Insights, HIMSS Media
About the Two Organizations That Published the Referenced Surveys
Kantar is home to some of the world’s leading research, data and insights expertise. Collectively, Kantar’s 30,000 employees offer the most complete view of consumers – the way they think, feel, shop, share, vote, and view – in over a hundred countries worldwide. For the benefit of Kantar’s clients, Kantar connects these specialists as well as providing access to the wider WPP group of companies and other partners.
Visit Kantar’s insight websites, with country-specific news, data and research in local languages. Whether you’re a journalist, client, colleague or student, you can freely use the content in your news articles, blog posts or presentations. Kantar currently publishes Kantar US Insights, Kantar UK Insights, Kantar France Insights, Kantar Spain Insights, Kantar Brazil Insights, and Kantar China Insights, with several more countries in the pipeline.
AHIP is the national association whose members provide coverage for health care and related services to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. Through these offerings, AHIP improves and protects the health and financial security of consumers, families, businesses, communities, and the nation. AHIP is committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that improve affordability, value, access, and well-being for consumers.