Just 1 in 5 How patients connect with doctors Salesforce Harris survey 2015health-insured people with a primary care provider use the web to look at their health data, and fewer than 1 in 10 people use digital means to book appointments. Welcome to the 2015 State of the Connected Patient, a survey report from Salesforce conducted by Harris Poll among 2,095 adults in January 2015.

Perhaps the title of the analysis should more appropriately be the “2015 State of the Unconnected Patient.”

While most patients polled are satisfied with their PCPs and most believe doctors are sharing their health records, people lack digital engagement with their primary care providers. 62% of insured people with a PCP say they rely on their doctors to keep track of their health data, while 36% say they keep track of their data via electronic records (note: multiple responses were possible for this question).

The chart illustrates the ways patients currently connect with PCPs:

  • 44% of people get test results from PCPs, 35% check by phone, 17% get test results via the web, 15% by postal mail, and 12% via email
  • 38% of people pay their health bills in person, 29% by postal mail, 11% by phone, and 8% online
  • 48% get appointment and prescription reminders by phone, 22% via email, 12% in person, and 10% online

36% of people manage preventive care with their doctor in-person — while 40% of people aren’t managing preventive care at all with their doctor. Another 14% of people manage prevention via phone, 7% through email, and 6% online.

The poll pulled out a sample of Millennial patients age 18-34, whose taste for managing health digitally is, unsurprisingly, more pronounced. A majority of these younger patients (insureds, with doctors) are interested in using mobile devices for health information sharing, using mobile apps for preventive care and personal health administrative tasks, adopting wearables for tracking health data for well-being, seeing 3-D printing for health devices like prostheses, and taking advantage of telehealth modalities to replace face-to-face visits.

imageHealth Populi’s Hot Points:  The big missed opportunity in the value-based health care world which will increasingly reward (reimburse) health care providers based on outcomes is for prevention: a plurality of insured patients with doctors aren’t connecting with doctors at all on prevention in any way — and certainly not taking advantage of the growing armamentarium of digital health tools and mobile apps available for self-tracking and -management of health and wellness. As a result, the supply side of those tools may be in the irrational exuberance phase of market adoption: or in Gartner’s language, the Peak of Inflated Expectations, which I’ve written about here.

The results of this Salesforce survey contrast the current consumer demand side for digital health with other studies that reveal health consumers’ aspirations to engage in health the way people DIY for other aspects of daily living. See the following Health Populi posts for more on digital approaches to HealthcareDIY to understand more about the emerging digitally-enabled health consumer…

Consumers pushing for health care transformation

Crossing the digital health chasm – my conversation with Dr. Eric Topol

Telehealth is in demand – American Well’s telehealth index

Getting real about consumer demand for wearables

People don’t know much about patient portals – Xerox’s survey

…and use the search box here on Health Populi to learn more about the morphing health consumer.