3 Myths About Patients and eHealth, Debunked

Because the digital transformation has happened so quickly in healthcare, many providers are still operating and planning under false impressions of what consumers expect in terms of technology and what the future technological landscape will look like.

Below, McKinsey&Company debunks three health IT myths still prevalent in the healthcare industry.

1. Because of the sensitive nature of personal health information, consumers are uncomfortable using digital technology to conduct healthcare visits or transmit medical information. Many providers see current low usage of online healthcare services as an indicator consumers don't want to conduct their healthcare business online or over mobile devices. However, a McKinsey&Company survey suggests the low adoption is because digital healthcare services are not yet robust enough to meet consumer demand. In fact, recent FICO surveys show consumers trust hospitals more than other companies to protect their data online and 80 percent of consumers are open to healthcare interactions on their smartphones.

2. Only young people want digital health services. Many providers are operating under the impression older patients wouldn't be interested in digital or mobile healthcare. However, the McKinsey&Company survey shows patients over 50 are as interested in using technology in their own healthcare as their younger counterparts, though they tend to be more interested in more "traditional" services like patient portals than newer forms, such as interacting with a physician over social media. This trend will continue as Baby Boomers age — a recent study conducted by the Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and Philips show a majority of Boomers want to use technology to keep themselves healthy, and two-thirds would be willing to pay out-of-pocket for technology that would keep them healthy and out of the hospital.

3. Consumers want providers to keep innovating newer, flashier eHealth services. Instead of focusing on developing new products and services to offer consumers, providers should focus on making sure their core offerings are high-quality and add value to the patient experience. Patients mostly want reliable access to their health information, time-savers like online appointment scheduling and the ability to connect with a person when they need something the digital offerings don't provide, rather than more social media integration or highly innovative services, according to the McKinsey&Company survey.

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