A new report from the Consumer Technology Association finds that both consumers and providers are bullish on the value of consumer-facing digital health technology, but there are still barriers to widespread adoption.
Consumer-facing digital health technology has the potential to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes, according to healthcare providers eyeing the market. Yet those providers also say the technology isn't living up to that promise.
That's the main takeaway from a new report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Driving Consumer Adoption of Digital Health Solutions. The report, prepared with IPSOS and culled from interviews with 1,000 consumers, 300 providers, and a dozen digital health companies, finds that consumers and providers are both ready to embrace digital health, but they often find issues with the technology that sour their interest.
“Economic, social, and geographic divides make the adoption of health technology at scale challenging," René Quashie, CTA's vice president of digital health, said in a press release accompanying the report. "Digital health technologies need to be adaptable, portable, and meet the needs of consumers. Healthcare providers can drive adoption by building and sharing awareness of the tools available, while lowering barriers to entry.”
The consumer-facing digital health market is large and growing, and includes mobile health devices like blood pressure monitors, insulin pumps and pulse oximeters, mHealth apps , smart devices like scales, wearables (like smartwatches and fitness bands) and smart patches, AR/VR devices, hearing aids, even pacemakers, defibrillators, and portable ECG kits.
The research touches on a long-standing gap between consumer-facing technology and the healthcare industry, which often casts a skeptical eye on the validity and reliability of those products. Many companies are seeking to bridge that gap by developing products that meet clinical standards, while healthcare organizations are exploring innovative ways to use consumer products in health and wellness programs.
According to the CTA, whose annual CES event in Las Vegas is attracting more healthcare organizations each year, digital health companies need to focus more on building consumer awareness around the healthcare benefits of their products, while also talking to providers about their products and rallying behind policies that drive access to digital health.
According to the report, 58% of healthcare providers agree that these digital health solutions can lessen the burden on the healthcare industry, yet 44% say the products aren't living up to their potential. Among consumers, the top reason for using these devices is to take control of one's own health, followed by accessibility, reliability and the support of an insurer.
The cost of these products is the main barrier to widespread adoption or continued use. Providers say adoption could be increased through more clinical evidence proving the value of the technology and more support from payers.
Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, Telehealth, Supply Chain and Pharma for HealthLeaders.
According to a new report from the Consumer Technology Association, almost 60 percent of providers surveyed say digital health solutions can improve healthcare, yet 44% also say those products aren't doing what they could or should be doing.
The CTA is seeing more and more interest from the healthcare industry in consumer-facing digital health technology, as evidenced by increased traffic and more emphasis on the sector at the annual CES event.
Providers are still wary of the reliability and accuracy of consumer-facing technology, and digital health companies need to work to address those concerns.