Rapid growth seen in use of digital technology, especially wearable devices and mobile, tablet apps.

LONDON; August 2, 2018 – Growing consumer demand for digital-based health services in England is ushering in a new model for care in which patients and machines are joining doctors as part of the healthcare delivery team, according to results of a survey from Accenture.

The survey of 1,043 consumers in England suggests that consumers are becoming more accepting of machines — ranging from artificial intelligence (AI), to virtual clinicians and home-based diagnostics — having a significantly greater role in their overall medical care. For example, while only 7 percent have used these services today, the majority of respondents from England said they would be likely to use AI-powered clinical services, such as home-based diagnostics (cited by 64 percent of respondents), a virtual health coach (52 percent), and a virtual nurse for monitoring health conditions, medications and vital signs at home (52 percent). Two of the main drivers of this viewpoint are 24-hour availability (51 percent) and the time saved from travel (40 percent).

By harnessing digital technologies in this way, healthcare will increasingly tap digital technologies to empower human judgement, free up clinician time and personalize care services to put control in the patients’ hands.

England consumers willing to use intelligent technologies

Graph depicting percentage of consumers willing to use intelligent technologies. 64% of consumers say they are willing to use home-based diagnostics.

“Driven by experiences outside of healthcare, consumers increasingly expect to use digital technologies to control when, where and how they receive care services,” said Niamh McKenna, England health lead. “By harnessing digital technologies in this way, healthcare will increasingly tap digital technologies to empower human judgement, free up clinician time and personalize care services to put control in the patients’ hands

The survey results also show that consumers are increasingly using a variety of digital self-service tools for managing their health. For instance, consumer use of mobile and tablet health apps has tripled over the past four years, from 13 percent in 2014 to 48 percent today. In one such example, patient portals, nearly a fifth (16 percent) said they have accessed their electronic health records (EHRs) over the past year, primarily to view their prescription medication history (cited by 55 percent of respondents who accessed their EHRs), lab and blood-test results (38 percent) and view physician notes regarding medical visits (38 percent).

Similarly, the use of wearable devices by consumers has grown five-fold over the past four years, from just 6 percent in 2014 to 31 percent today. Roughly three-fourths of health consumers view wearables — such as those that monitor glucose, heart rate, physical activity and sleep — as beneficial to engaging with their health (77 percent), understanding their health condition (74 percent) and monitoring the health of a loved one (70 percent).

Increasing use of health apps and wearables in England

Image depicting the increasing use of health apps and wearables in England. Use of wearable technology has increased from 6% in 2014 to 31% in 2018, while use of mobile/tablet apps has increased from 13% in 2014, to 48% in 2018.

“The more accustomed healthcare consumers become to using wearables and other smart technologies, the more open they are to sharing the personal health data these tools collect,” McKenna said.

For instance, 88 percent of survey participants said they are willing to share personal data with their doctor, and 85 percent said they are willing to share personal data with a nurse or other healthcare professional. They also are more willing to share such data and with online communities or other app users – 37 percent today, compared with 27 percent in 2016. Fewer are willing to share data with their employer (33 percent) or a government agency (40 percent).

The survey also found only a small portion of consumers in England are taking advantage of virtual services:

  • Thirteen percent of England respondents said they had received some form of virtual care services in the previous year—significantly fewer than the U.S. (25 percent) or the overall survey average (18 percent).
  • While use of virtual care is low, there is a strong willingness to use it for particular applications such as medication reminders (cited by 79 percent of consumers), healthy activity reminders (78 percent) and daily support for ongoing health issues (74 percent).
  • Between 2016 and 2018, the proportion of patients who associate in-person consultation with higher quality care has risen from 61 percent to 69 percent.
  • Roughly half of survey respondents said they believe that virtual care reduces patient medical costs (cited by 52 percent) and better accommodating patients’ schedules (50 percent).

The majority of healthcare consumers said they would use virtual care for a variety of activities, from e-medical visits to medical diagnosis and group therapy. For instance, 68 percent said they would use virtual care for after-hours (nights and weekend) appointments and 63 percent for a follow-up appointment after seeing a health professional in person. The majority of respondents said they would also use virtual care for a range of additional services, including being examined for a non-emergency condition (cited by 56 percent of respondents), in-home follow-up after a hospital stay (53 percent), and discussing specific health concerns with medical professionals (52 percent).

Methodology

The findings in this news release relate to the England portion of a seven-country survey that Accenture commissioned as part of its 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health report. The purpose of the survey — of 7,905 consumers ages 18 and older, including 1,043 from England— was to assess consumer attitudes toward healthcare technology, modernization and service innovation. It is the latest in a series of annual health technology surveys tracking the perspectives of consumers across themes ranging from electronic health records and health management to virtual health and cybersecurity. The Accenture survey was conducted in January 2018 across seven countries: Australia (1,031), England (1,043), Finland (848), Singapore (957), Spain (957) and the United States (2,301).

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 449,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

Contact:

Natalie de Freitas
Accenture UK
44 (0) 7988 165 382
natalie.de.freitas@accenture.com

Jenn Francis
Accenture Health (Global)
(1) 630 338 6426
jennifer.francis@accenture.com

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