- Physicians overwhelmingly support the use of patient engagement technology as a means to improving patient education and patient-provider communication, according to a recent survey conducted by SERMO on behalf of PatientPoint and think tank Digital Health Coalition.
The survey of 200 respondents revealed that three-quarters of physicians link patient education and engagement tools with an improved patient experience.
Because of this promise of better patient experiences, most providers are integrating patient-facing tools into their practices. Ninety-five percent of respondents said they were using some type of patient engagement tool, whether it be a waiting room education screen, handheld exam room tablets, or mHealth tools that connect patients to care outside of the clinic.
As a result, patients are becoming more informed of their care, physician respondents said. With better patient education comes more meaningful patient interactions, showing that these technology investments are paying off.
Physicians also say that patient engagement technology has been instrumental in bringing healthcare into the 21st Century. While exam rooms were previously filled with posters and models of different health and body systems, they are now being filled with digital engagement tools.
About half of respondents said they were planning on installing digital patient engagement tools in their exam rooms.
What’s more, providers have no qualms with having these tools be sponsored by pharmaceutical company advertisements. About three-quarters of respondents said they would approve of ads from pharmaceutical companies appearing on their patient-facing technology so long as the tool bear little financial investment and include detailed and contextualized patient education.
Going forward, healthcare professionals are looking for technology that creates administrative simplification. With easier healthcare processes, providers should be able to dedicate more time to patient interactions.
Two-thirds of physician respondents said they are interested in voice-controlled technology, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. These tools could be useful for documentation, answering patient questions, and communicating with practice staff.
These technologies could also reduce physician burnout and open the door for more meaningful patient interactions.
These survey results demonstrate that healthcare providers are leaning toward a more patient-centered and technology-driven future, said PatientPoint founder and CEO Mike Collette. As organizations begin to create a more futuristic view of healthcare and the healthcare facility, health IT vendors will see greater opportunities.
“The results from our survey are clear: physicians are embracing patient engagement technology and are looking to integrate it across important touchpoints to better educate patients and optimize the patient experience,” Collette said in a statement. “This positive view of technology—and knowing that pharmaceutical brands can play a role—represents significant opportunities for brands to better connect with patients and physicians during the office visit as well as before and after.”
Additionally, these findings underscore the promise health technology holds for improving patient-provider interactions, said Christine Franklin, the executive director for Digital Health Coalition. While many industry stakeholders have been wary of the burden technology could place on patient-provider interactions, physicians are beginning to realize that technology can also enable patient relationships.
“Our data confirm that physicians see technology as a valuable part of their practice of medicine,” said Digital Health Coalition Executive Director Christine Franklin. “They see, understand and most importantly are excited about how future innovations in the space are poised to transform how they interact with and educate patients.”
Over the past decade, value-based care models have pushed the healthcare industry toward more patient-centered care. Health IT has emerged as a key tool in that pursuit. Patient portals have been instrumental in connecting patients to their care, while in-office engagement tools have worked to boost patient education and digitize the patient experience.