Will patients embrace mHealth?Follow @pwc_ukgov
By Sunil Patel, Partner
This week Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley told the NHS Confederation Conference that technology would play a major role in supporting change in the NHS. He said that telehealth in particular had the ability to “redesign the service” for patients, from supporting specific treatments to enhancing wellbeing and quality of life.
Our latest report, mHealth in the UK: Paths for growth, reveals a disparity between what patients and practitioners think are the key barriers to widespread adoption of mHealth.
Health practitioners cite lack of user interest as one of the top three barriers, while patients indicate a lack of information as one of the main barriers to adoption. This suggests that patients are more eager to embrace mHealth than their clinicians believe.
In the UK, interest in mHealth among patients, carers, commissioners and healthcare providers has never been greater. The use of ‘apps’ and innovative technology in our everyday lives is now having a knock-on effect on how, potentially, people could use mobile devices including mobile phones and other specialised medical mobile devices, to communicate and gather information on their care.
Our work with the Citizen’s Jury earlier this year reveals that patients and citizens want to feel empowered over their own health. They wanted to access more and better information about healthcare in general, as well as access to more relevant, personal healthcare information. With a greater understanding of their own health situation, they felt that people would be less inclined to waste healthcare resources, for example by making unnecessary visits to their GP or A&E.
The research reflects this finding, with two of the top three mHealth benefits sought by UK patients being greater control over one’s own health and the ability to obtain information - suggesting mHealth has an important role to play in this area. The introduction of mHealth into a patient’s package of care can really fine-tune their awareness of their condition. So it’s not just that patients benefit from their improved physical wellbeing, they are empowered to self-manage their condition and health needs.
Research published today from the Nuffield Trust finds there are statistically significant clinical benefits to be realised from telehealth and, the good news is, our report concludes that UK patients are ready to adopt the use of technology in the health sphere - more so than many clinicians or providers believe. But there is some way to go within health and social care to support its widespread use. See my previous blog post with ideas for how mHealth's full potential can be realised.
Email: Sunil Patel
Tel: +44 (0) 20 721 23484