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04 Jul 2016

Health professionals back the use of technology to share patient information and improve the integration of care, but are wary it could result in information overload.

An international survey commissioned by electronics giant Philips has found that doctors and patients are both enthusiastic about the possibilities provided by so-called “connected care technologies” (which include wearable devices, apps and electronic health records) to improve health system integration.

The survey, which included 200 Australian health professionals and 2000 patients, found Australia scored above average on the international Future Health Index, which measures perceptions of health care accessibility and integration, along with the adoption of connected care technologies.

Australia scored highly on access to care, due to public hospital funding and universal health care through Medicare. But it was only average when it came to health care integration and the adoption of connected care technologies.

This is despite openness to the idea among both patients and doctors.

The survey found that around half of patients use connected care technologies to measure their health, and three-quarters would be comfortable sharing the information with their doctor – though only 32 per cent report they have done so.

For their part, a majority of health professionals who have had information shared with them by their patient report that it has helped them gain deeper insights into their patient’s health, has helped motivate patients to adhere to treatment, and has given patients a measurable goal to work towards.

But 54 per cent are concerned that connected care technologies will increase their workload by overloading them with data they do not need, and have limited time to process.

Adrian Rollins

Published: 04 Jul 2016