‘Consumers are ready for technology-enabled home health.’
A recent study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions finds that while consumers may be ready for technology to help them stay healthy at home, there are still issues and obstacles keeping consumers from a full technology embrace.
We spoke with managing director of Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions Dr. Harry Greenspun about some of those obstacles, and how to understand consumer opinions.
HHTN: What do the results of this report say about the big picture in home healthcare technology?
GREENSPUN: We in health care often forget that people live in the modern world. People have gotten used to so much technology in other parts of their lives and it would great to have some of that in health care. With all of the advancements that are happening in health care technology, people are beginning to see what that would look like.
HHTN: Why is important to view home healthcare technology users more as “consumers” and less as “patients”?
GREENSPUN: Up to now, much of health care has been around making physicians’ lives easier, or providing care more effectively. There’s a shift happening to value-based care these days, as physicians are being reimbursed or evaluated on patient experience. Patients are also paying higher out-of-pocket costs because of high deductible insurance or other causes, so they’re finding they have to spend their own money. They are beginning to act more like consumers. If they’re told they need to have an MRI, they’re going to call around for the best price.
HHTN: The study shows that privacy and security are still some of the biggest obstacles to technology adoption by the masses. What can be done to overcome those barriers?
GREENSPUN: We have a lot of people using health tracking devices like Fitbits and sharing that information with everyone. But when it comes to someone’s blood pressure or blood sugar information, for example, people are much more cautious about sharing that. To overcome those barriers consumers need an incentive to trust. What is the benefit of sharing their information? Consumers need to see how sharing this information will help them and their provider improve their health.
HHTN: How can we keep the personal touch in health care?
GREENSPUN: Technology alone doesn’t change behavior. It needs to be tied to the people they trust and who have a vested interest in them, that they are gathering and sharing this information for their provider to help themselves. Just because we can track something doesn’t mean we have to.