Patients Choose Online Medical Communication

The findings from a new report challenge the assumption that face-to-face interaction is always the preferred health care experience as patients choose virtual access if it meant better care.

Although there is a wide difference between how adequate consumers and health care decision makers feel health and medical data protections are, three quarters of patients are comfortable communicating with doctors using technology instead of seeing them in person, according to a new report.

The Cisco Customer Experience Report examined the views of consumers and health care decision makers on sharing personal health data, participating in in-person medical consultation versus remote care and using technology to make recommendations on personal health. More than 1,500 responses were collected from 10 countries.

"The patient and care provider experiences are top of mind in health care around the world," Kathy English of Cisco’s Public Sector and Healthcare Marketing, said in a statement. “Due to the increasing convergence of the digital and physical, there is an opportunity to provide increased collaboration and information sharing among providers to improve the care experience and operate more efficiently.”

According to Cisco, the report’s findings challenge the assumption that face-to-face interaction is always the preferred health care experience. Three quarters of patients said they would choose virtual access to care over human contact if it meant being treated at a perceived leading health care provider and gaining access to trusted care and expertise.

However, consumers were less comfortable (less than half) than health care practitioners (two-thirds) when it came to providing personal health and medical information for a better experience. Willingness also varied by geography — nearly 80% of North American patients were comfortable sharing information while 50% of Japanese patients expressed discomfort with the idea of submitting DNA.

Furthermore, more health care providers than consumers believed data protection in their respective countries for health and medical data was adequate. In the U.S. almost 60% of providers were confident in data protections, while only 40% of consumers felt the same. However, in Brazil the opposite held true — two-thirds of consumers believed data protection is adequate while 20% of providers shared that sentiment.

Below is an infographic from Cisco. To view it larger, click here.

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