News Briefs Archive

How Many Consumers Use Digital Health-Care Tools?

Sept. 18, 2019

Consumers may turn first to Google when they begin having worrying symptoms, but far fewer use tools like EHR portals to manage their own healthcare, according to reporting by Mark Brohan on Digital Commerce 360.

Seventy percent of consumers have used the web to research symptoms or seek answers to medical questions, and 51 percent use apps or other tech tools to track their sleep, fitness or diet, says a new survey of about 1,000 consumers by non-profit healthcare research firm The Kaiser Family Foundation.

But less than one-half of all consumers are using the web and digital healthcare tools to look up their medical records or to manage chronic conditions, mental health, or their healthcare spending.

Indeed, only about 44 percent of consumers check their medical records online, and only 25 percent use digital healthcare to manage aspects of their health and wellness, the Kaiser survey finds.

“Technology companies trying to disrupt the health-care system still have a long way to go,” says Kaiser Family Foundation president Drew Altman. “Splashy health technology announcements are everywhere, but many are more hype than reality.”

Other survey findings include:

Nearly half of 18-44-year-olds have gone online to research a provider—compared with just 32 percent of patients older than 45.

• Eight-four percent of consumers have yet to try telehealth and 62 percent and 59 percent of consumers, respectively, have never gone online or use an app to track or manage their health-care spending or research the cost of medical services from different health-care providers.

• Only 50 percent of consumers are using the web and apps to manage medications, such as setting reminders or accessing information about medication interactions.

• Less than 50-48 percent of consumers go online to fill or refill prescriptions.

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