Is Digital Healthcare the New Wonder Drug?

This post was written by MedAdvisor. 

Can you think back to the time when internet banking did not yet exist?  To view your account balance or make a transaction required a physical visit to the local branch and a likely long wait in a never-ending queue.

Or perhaps a time when you were headed to the airport and had to call 13CABS and hope that the taxi would arrive on time so you wouldn’t miss your flight?

While these scenarios may seem foreign now, it was less than 10 years ago that this was the norm. In fact, it was only 10 years ago that the first iPhone was released, and during this time over 1.2 billion have been sold worldwide (1).

What’s incredible is not the way technology has transformed our lives, many would argue this was inevitable, but it’s the speed at which everything is changing.

According to the 2017 Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, Australia remains one of the leading global adopters of the smartphone. In fact, 88 percent of Australians now own one, with market growth being driven by older generations (2).

Not only are more people owning devices, they are consuming more of our time. Thirty-five percent of us check our phone within five minutes of waking up in the morning, with 70 percent using phones during mealtimes with family and friends (2).

And whilst almost every industry has been completely transformed by technology, healthcare has lagged behind. Many of us have come to associate health care with high costs and long waits, and have accepted the inefficiencies and friction that permeates through all parts of the healthcare system.

However, as new technologies emerge that challenge existing models of care, we are starting to see a shift towards patient empowerment, where patients are in the driver’s seat. Patients are now making more informed decisions about their own health through greater access to information and personal data. A 2016 study showed that 80% of Americans have searched for a health-related topic online (3).

And while many healthcare executives may believe that, due to the sensitive nature of medical care, patients don’t want to use digital healthcare services, the results of a recent McKinsey survey revealed the reason patients are slow to adopt digital healthcare is primarily because existing services don’t meet their needs or because they are of poor quality. Across all the countries in the survey, more than 75 percent of respondents would like to use digital healthcare services, with older patients (over 50) wanting to use digital healthcare services nearly as much as their younger counterparts (4).

This is consistent with MedAdvisor’s 2016 patient survey which showed that 70% of respondents wanted to use online script renewal services as an alternative to visiting the GP for a script renewal (5).

Despite the fact that doctors operate within existing inefficient healthcare systems, you may be surprised to know they are also ready for a change. Even back in 2015, 80% of doctors surveyed said telemedicine is a better way to manage chronic diseases than the traditional office visit, because telemedicine offers patients and health care providers both greater freedom and accessibility. Around 80% of doctors already use smartphones and medical apps, with 72% accessing drug info on smartphones on a regular basis (6).

There is a great opportunity for digital technology to revolutionise healthcare. Smartphones are becoming advanced tools that are easily accessible to patients and practitioners. With the right software and design, they are providing simple solutions to major medical challenges, such as improving medication adherence, improving access to services, promoting patient self-care, education for positive lifestyle changes, detecting early signs of health problems and more.

At MedAdvisor, we understand the many challenges faced by patients when it comes to managing their medications. With 50% of Australians living with a chronic disease (7), but adherence to chronic medication sitting at a low 50% (8) and costing the Australian health system $660 million per year (9), there’s a great opportunity for technology to close the gap. So far, data has shown that patients using MedAdvisor are +20% more adherent (10), however, we believe there’s still more that we can do. As we know, medicines can only work properly if they are taken as prescribed, so without even developing new treatments, could technology be the new wonder drug?

References

  1. McCarthy, N., 2017, Apple has sold 1.2 billion iPhones over the past 10 years, accessed at https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/06/29/apple-has-sold-1-2-billion-iphones-over-the-past-10-years-infographic/#62cdef9b42f8
  2. Deloitte, 2017, Deloitte Consumer Survey 2017 – The Australian Cut, accessed at https://www2.deloitte.com/au/mobile-consumer-survey
  3. Weaver, J., 2016, More people search for health online, accessed at http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077086/t/more-people-search-health-online/#.WiOIa1WWa5c
  4. Biesdorf, S., Niedermann, F., 2014, Healthcare’s digital future, accessed at https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/healthcares-digital-future
  5. MedAdvisor survey data, 2016, data on file
  6. Newman, D., 2017, Top Five Digital Transformation Trends in Healthcare, accessed at https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2017/03/07/top-five-digital-transformation-trends-in-healthcare/#625ef0fe2561
  7. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016, Australia’s Health, accessed at https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2016/contents/summary
  8. World Health Organisation, 2003, Adherence to long-term therapies: evidence for action, accessed at http://www.who.int/chp/knowledge/publications/adherence_full_report.pdf
  9. Australian Department of Health and Ageing, 2010, Evaluation of the DD/PMP programs
  10. MedAdvisor adherence data, 2016, data on file

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

Close
%d bloggers like this: