Since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic of 2020, so much of our day to day lives have changed. Of course, one of the biggest, most impactful changes is that common interactions that used to be face to face or often now done online, via video, or over the phone. Virtually no part of our lives has been left unaffected by the pandemic and the subsequent changes we’ve made.
One of the biggest areas of impact is in the way we function in the healthcare sector. Whether we are physicians or nurses, patients, or even pharmaceutical reps, the way we function has been greatly impacted by a rapid rise in digital health technology. Where many of the changes due to COVID are things that we’d rather reverse or do away with completely, digital health seems to be largely a very good thing.
Today 80% of physicians are making use of digital health tech in their personal and/or professional lives. A post-pandemic survey of 500 doctors shows that, in both personal and professional use, over 50% of physicians use health apps, over 40% use smartwatches, and the majority use fitness wearables and disease-related devices professionally.
Physicians also make use of healthcare websites like UpToDate, Sermo, and WebMD to gather information. Another area where physicians engage with digital is the use of social media. Nineteen percent use social sites to communicate with other doctors, 17% share videos with patients, 16% repost messages for professional use, and 15% post professional updates on social sites. Physicians who are high adopters of digital health tech are also much more likely to recommend it so their patients. For instance, these physicians are 211% more likely to recommend smart gym equipment, and 200% more likely to recommend smartwatches.
Physicians and patients both see the many benefits of digital health tech in that it offers easier access to medical records, increases ability to access new health information, and gives patients a greater ability to manage their own health. Patients also report the benefits of streamlining scheduling and having better communication with physicians. For patients with chronic conditions, digital health tech can be even more impactful and beneficial.
One in three patients with chronic conditions actually prefers telemedicine for routine visits and treatments, and for those who are high adopters of digital, that jumps to over 50%. Patients with chronic conditions also value other tools offered with digital health, such as websites related to their condition, online disease-related resources, links to online advocacy groups, health-related smartphone apps, and pharmaceutical company or product websites.
Doctors and patients both expect digital health to keep growing over the next few years. It is important for everyone to get on board so that digital health can not only make up for what used to take place in person, but also improve healthcare and medical outcomes overall.