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Physicians, Patients Pessimistic About Healthcare's Future

By jfellows@healthleadersmedia.com  
   January 08, 2015

Easily accessible technology tools are being used by both doctors and patients, but there's a notable gap between them, and plenty of grumbling—not unlike what's been seen in other industries roiled by massive change.

Mention the phrase "healthcare technology," and many images may come to mind: headache-inducing EHRs, Fitbits, or e-visits. Those are included in the broad scope of technology tools a recent study on consumers' and physicians' assessment of healthcare as well as social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs that offer ways for physicians and patients to communicate.

The problem is the digital divide between the two groups using them.

"Providers are using technology in their clinics and practices," says Grant McLaughlin, vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, the McLean, Virginia-based consulting firm that co-authored the study with a division of Ipsos Group. "And consumers have a smartphone and are using it, but not necessarily for health."

Some of that may have to do with the FDA approval process for health monitoring devices that give meaningful information to physicians. The results of the survey that Booz Allen and Ipsos commissioned reinforce other, similar studies also showing a gap in understanding how to use technology in a meaningful way that will improve care, quality, and cost of healthcare.

Technology was not the focus of the survey, but the finding that doctors and patients are using technologies separately surprised McLaughlin the most. He estimates the reason is primarily due to privacy concerns, which he believes will dissipate quickly.

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Jacqueline Fellows is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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