Survey: Collaboration technologies could transform healthcare delivery

May 12, 2011

Collaboration and information-sharing between you and your fellow health professionals have the greatest near-term potential for facilitating large-scale health sector innovation, according to findings from a global health leader survey on national health sector innovation.

Collaboration and information-sharing between you and your fellow health professionals have the greatest near-term potential for facilitating large-scale health sector innovation, according to findings from a global health leader survey on national health sector innovation.


The research was commissioned by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) and conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). Health leaders in 16 countries on six continents were asked about their views on the leading issues and opportunities in providing health services to their citizens.

Survey respondents identified technology-enabled innovations and telehealth solutions as potential breakthroughs that would enable significant nationwide health transformation. Specifically:

• 65% of respondents said that collaborating via information and communications technology to diagnose and treat conditions holds high potential.

• An equal percentage said that electronically sharing or accessing diagnostic images, video, or patient biometric data has high potential.

• 64% of participants said that providing clinical training and references via information and communications technologies holds high potential.

• 32% of survey respondents said patient care provided via care-at-a-distance models has high potential.

Although voicing strong support for telehealth, research participants noted a considerable gap between perceived potential and current practices. For instance, only 4% said they have “no compelling need to use telehealth,” but only 9% said sharing electronic data and images is “very common” today, and only 4% said that professional collaboration via information and communications technologies is “very common.”

“The potential for global health transformation remains untapped,” says Frances Dare, director, Cisco IBSG Global Healthcare Practice. “These findings tell us that unlocking that potential requires efficient collaboration among health professionals, regardless of time and distance. It’s about connecting the people of healthcare.”

PSRAI conducted the research through an online survey in five languages and in-person interviews with participants from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Germany, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, and South Africa. The survey targeted senior government leaders (both political appointees and civil servants) with a wide range of responsibilities in the health sector.