Majority willing to replace face-to-face doctor visit with digitally enabled “virtual” visit
SINGAPORE; July 20, 2016 – Consumers in Singapore are ready to accept self-directed healthcare driven by digital technologies, with more than half of them willing to use virtual-care technologies as a replacement for a face-to-face healthcare visit, according to a new report by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
The report, titled Innovation-Powered Healthcare in Asia Pacific, is based on a three-country survey of 2,250 citizens—750 each in Australia, Japan and Singapore. According to the report, 54 per cent of Singaporean consumers said they would forego a face-to-face visit with a physician in lieu of a virtual visit if that would enable them to be seen sooner.
The survey also found that more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of respondents in Singapore said they trust themselves to take charge of their own health, and nearly the same number (74 per cent) said they want more options for self-managing their care. For example, four in five Singaporean respondents (80 per cent) said they would use a virtual assistant—a solution that draws on advances in artificial intelligence to help a consumer manage more of their healthcare themselves. A virtual assistant could, among other things, identify the out-of-pocket costs for a treatment, help find the right treatment option, or help manage an appointment or referral.
The findings show signs of a sizable gulf between patient expectations in Singapore and the health services they received: only one-fifth (19 per cent) of respondents in Singapore said they were ‘very satisfied’ with their quality of care, and even fewer (14 per cent) said they were ‘very satisfied’ with the convenience of services.
The report also notes that consumers in Singapore are most willing to adopt digitally enabled changes to the healthcare system that can improve: the time spent in waiting rooms (cited by 63 per cent of respondents) and the time it takes to get an appointment (cited by 44 per cent).
“Demand for self-service technology is helping Singapore become a breeding ground for health technology start-ups and government-funded initiatives,” said Julian Sham, M.D., who leads Accenture’s health practice in Singapore. “Integrating self-service technology into the existing system will further enable patients to take charge of their health and interact with the system on their own terms. By implementing digital technologies more broadly, the health industry will be able to augment human labour, personalise care and free-up time for clinicians to focus on where they’re needed most. That’s the real innovation that digital technologies can provide.”
Accenture commissioned a survey of 2,250 consumers (aged 18+) in Australia, Japan and Singapore—750 from each country—to understand their attitudes toward their health system and healthcare technologies. The online survey was fielded by Longitude Research, on behalf of Accenture, between January and February 2016, with the sample evenly distributed across age groups, gender and income brackets. Each respondent self-reported having been treated by a health provider at least once over each of the past three years.
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