Consumers and Doctors in Singapore Increasingly Divided on Who Should Have Access to a Patient's Electronic Health Record, Accenture Survey Finds
Consumers' Use of Health Apps and Wearables in Singapore Has Increased in Past Two Years
SINGAPORE; May 18, 2016 – A new survey by Accenture found that the divide between consumers and doctors in Singapore who believe that patients should have full access to their own electronic health records (EHRs) has widened from two years ago—with patients now four times as likely as doctors to believe that patients should have full access to their records.
Specifically, while the number of consumers who believe they should have full access to their records has increased over the past two years—from 73 per cent in 2014 to 82 per cent today – the number of doctors who shared that belief dropped significantly, from 30 per cent to 17 per cent, during the same period. These Singapore findings are part of a seven country survey of roughly 8,000 consumers—including 935 in Singapore—with select findings compared to a similar survey of physicians.
“Until now, the flow of clinical information has been to the doctor,” said Penny O’Hara, managing director, APAC head of healthcare, Accenture. “With digitisation driving a new level of information parity, doctors need to embrace—not resist—the notion of patients having complete access to their records.”
Access to Electronic Health Records
The Accenture survey also found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of consumers who believe they should have EHR access want to see exactly what the doctor sees—not a summary. This comes as the number of patients who know exactly what they can access in their EHRs increased 45 per cent over two years, from 44 per cent in 2014 to 64 per cent today. However, significantly more consumers are likely to access their EHR to stay informed than to help with making medical decisions (27 per cent vs. 11 per cent). The areas cited most often by consumers for using their EHRs to manage their health include having access to their physician’s notes about the visit (34 per cent) and having access to lab results (28 per cent).
Consumers have strong views on who should access their EHR data. While more than half (57 per cent) view an EHR as a tool for their primary doctor, only 12 per cent of consumers believe that the government should have access to their records, while only 5 per cent of consumers believe that employers should.
Growing Use of Health Apps and Wearables
The number of Singapore consumers who use wearables and mobile apps for managing their health has increased slightly since 2014. Specifically, the number of consumers who use health apps increased from 40 per cent in 2014 to 44 per cent today, and the number who use health wearables increased from 17 per cent to 23 per cent during the same time. In addition, the majority of consumers (78 per cent) and doctors (81 per cent) alike said that using wearables helps a patient engage in their health.
Digital tools, such as wearables and mobile apps, are becoming part of interactions between doctors and patients. Of the one in five Singapore consumers (22 per cent) who were asked by a doctor to use wearables to track their health, such as fitness or vital signs, the majority (70 per cent) followed their physician’s recommendation. Nearly a third of consumers (30 per cent) who use health apps have discussed or shared mobile app data with their doctor in the past year. Consumers most frequently use health apps for fitness (cited by 54 per cent), diet/nutrition (42 per cent), health or condition tracking (25 per cent) and symptom navigation (20 per cent). While the majority (87 per cent) of Singapore consumers said they would be willing to share wearable or app data with medical providers, far fewer (38 per cent) said they would be willing to share that data with employers.
Use of Virtual Care
Nearly a third (28 per cent) of Singapore consumers in the most-recent survey—down from 33 per cent in the 2014 survey—said they prefer virtual doctor appointments to in-person doctor appointments. Consumers and physicians alike believe that in-person visits provide benefits for patients, such as engaging patients in their healthcare decisions (53 per cent of consumers vs. 46 per cent) of doctors, while virtual visits provide reduced medical costs to patients (58 per cent vs. 67 per cent).
“Health providers in Singapore and around the world are also challenged to deliver more affordable, effective care with innovative digital health solutions,” said O’Hara. “It is evident that wearables, mobile apps, analytics, cloud and social will fundamentally change the way healthcare is delivered”.
Accenture commissioned a survey of roughly 8,000 consumers in seven countries to assess their adoption and attitudes toward digital health tools, electronic health records and their healthcare providers’ electronic capabilities. The seven countries represented were the United States (2,225 respondents), Australia (1,013), Brazil (1,006), England (1,009), Norway (800), Saudi Arabia (852) and Singapore (935). The survey was conducted by Nielsen between November 2015 and January 2016. Where relevant, the survey refers to select findings from a similar physician survey to compare doctor and consumer responses.
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 specialised 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 approximately 373,000 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.
Hui Luen Lien
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Burson-Marsteller for Accenture
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