RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • The Accenture 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey showed that interest in digital health was slumping in Norway pre-pandemic.
  • COVID-19 has forced adoption—but Norwegians remain wary.
  • They are especially concerned about data privacy and security and have low confidence in the effectiveness of digital tools and services.
  • Norway’s trusted doctors will be critical to ongoing digital adoption.


Re-examining the Accenture 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey

The global pandemic forced adoption of digital health in Norway as it did elsewhere. However, the concerns unearthed by our pre-pandemic research still ring true: Norwegians’ interest in virtual health continues to be constrained by concerns about data privacy and security and they want to see significant improvements in the effectiveness of digital technologies.

COVID-19 forced a surge

Virtual healthcare services became a necessity as efforts to slow transmission of COVID-19 sharply limited face-to-face visits with doctors and other traditional care professionals. Patients have been actively encouraged to seek out video consultations and doctors have been urged to offer more digital services.

Doctors’ attitudes will be decisive

Prior to the pandemic, 46% of consumers told us that trusted healthcare professionals would motivate them to manage their health more actively. Yet only 8% said their doctors had recommended the digital tools that would enable them to do so.

46%

of consumers said healthcare professionals would motivate them to take a more active role in managing their health.

8%

of consumers said that their regular healthcare provider had recommended digital tools to manage health.

Slumping interest in digital

Our survey reveals that the use of digital devices and technologies for health management was diminishing in Norway pre-pandemic. From a high of 44% in 2018, only 38% of Norwegian consumers were using mobile devices and apps to manage their health in early 2020; and wearables use had also dropped, from 20% in 2018 to just 16 %.

Data privacy a significant concern

While 66% of Norwegian consumers were willing to share their health data "for doctor or hospital records", far fewer were prepared to share it for other purposes, including medical research—even if they were paid for providing it.

Norwegians are reluctant to share their health data, except for doctor or hospital records

Consumers want better technology

Consumers’ current confidence in virtual tools is also low, with almost as many citing limited effectiveness as a reason to avoid digital as those who gave data privacy and security concerns as the top ranked reason (30% vs 34%).

34%

of consumers said concerns about privacy or data security keep them from using chatbots, computers or digital devices.

30%

of consumers said that lack of trust in the effectiveness of digital tools and services keeps them from using them.

Norwegians still open to virtual care

Yet, if given the choice, many Norwegian consumers would still choose virtual channels for basic care services, and even for specialty care. They "definitely" or "probably" would receive health and wellness advisories (52%) and remote monitoring of ongoing health issues through at-home devices (46%), and nearly half (47%) would use virtual for routine appointments. Some are even open to receiving diagnoses virtually.

If given the choice, consumers would choose virtual channels for many health services

Traditional providers in pole position

As many as 65% of Norwegian consumers would be happy to receive virtual care—if it were provided by traditional doctors.

A majority of Norwegian consumers would happily receive virtual care from their doctors

Privacy and security expectations

Norwegians want more control over their own health and would make more use of digital services if they were made more transparent, effective—and delivered by the doctors whom they most trust with their overall healthcare.

Promote the doctor-patient partnership—and show that virtual healthcare can be as good as traditional

Geir Prestegård

Managing Director – Consulting, Health Lead, Norway

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