WebMD released the findings of a new WebMD/Medscape survey that provides an insights regarding physician and patient perspectives on health technology’s role in aiding diagnosis and care. Dr. Eric Topol, a leading authority in the fields of genomics and digital medicine, who serves as both Editor-in-Chief of Medscape and Chief Academic Officer of Scripps Health, says that the data suggests that the two groups are coming ever closer in their embrace of new technology in medical practice. “There is a growing understanding among physicians that patients have greater access to care and cost information and that is giving them greater voice in the decision-making process,” he added.
The survey involved 1,102 patients and 1,406 healthcare professionals, including 827 physicians. Here are the key findings:
- Consumers (84%) and doctors (69%) embrace technology to enhance and aide the diagnostic process.
- Patients (64%) and physicians (63%) agree that the smartphone can be a useful diagnostic tool in regard to blood tests.
- With regard to using a smartphone to perform other tests, such as eye and ear examinations in place of an office visit, nearly one half of patients would consider doing so, while only about one-third of doctors would be willing to accept information from patients’ smartphones in place of office visits.
- 96% of both patients and physicians think that patients have right to see their lab and diagnostic test results.
- However, doctors feel that giving patients access to detailed electronic medical records could lead to anxiety about results (91%) and unnecessary requests for medical evaluations (84%), whereas patients feel that this access will allow them to better manage their health (93%).
- Importantly, patients (58%) and doctors (77%) agree that doctors should review test results before sharing with patients.
- The majority of patients (58%) and doctors (60%) don’t view privacy and security issues as barriers to using digital health technologies for communication, or for accessing and sharing electronic medical records.
“Given WebMD’s remarkable reach to consumers and Medscape’s to healthcare professionals, this study yielded many surprising areas of alignment and discordance among patients and the clinicians that care for them,” said Dr. Topol.
Few additional data points are available from this presentation.