Clinicians are more open to utilizing burgeoning healthcare technology as part of their practice, and patients are more receptive to interacting with that technology, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute report released last month titled “Healthcare delivery of the future: How digital technology can bridge the gap of time and distance between clinicians and consumers.”
And pharmacy stands to gain immediate benefit in the retailing of the technology plus the application of that technology through teaching patients to self-care, also in using the applications within clinical pharmacist practices.
It is already appearing as “wearable technology” and in that form also for use by fitness exponents.
More sophisticated medical technology will be the next big push and already retailers like Harvey Norman have large well-stocked displays for their customers.
Astute pharmacists will also realise that if they specialise in all things fitness (clothing, wearable technology, sports supplements, vitamins and minerals etc) they will reach both Gen X and Gen Y customers – people they have had difficulty in attracting through traditional markets.
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And that adoption of healthcare technology at the provider level will help drive patient-oriented solutions at the pharmacy. According to the report, 44% of providers electronically share data with a pharmacy.
“Digitally enabled care is no longer ‘nice to have;’ it’s fundamental for delivering high quality care,” said Daniel Garrett, health information technology practice leader at PwC U.S. “Just as the banking and retail sectors today use data and technology to improve efficiency, raise quality and expand services, health care must either do the same or lose patients to their competitors who do so.”
According to the report, 28% of consumers reported having a healthcare, wellness or medical app on their mobile device, up from 16% last year. Roughly two-thirds of physicians said they would prescribe an app to help patients manage such chronic diseases as diabetes. And nearly half of consumers and 8-in-10 physicians believe using mobile devices can help clinicians better coordinate care.
“The adoption and integration of digital technology with existing healthcare processes has not yet fulfilled its potential to transform care and value for patients,” said Simon Samaha, principal at PwC. “The next five years will be critical, with leaders emerging from those who use digital technology to innovate and revamp the interactions between consumers, providers and payers.”
However, privacy and payment concerns remain the top two barriers for provider adoption of mobile health.
As many as 45% of physicians surveyed worry about the privacy and security of patient information, and 39% are concerned about getting paid.