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Most people would use health technology to avoid hospital admission

Most patients would use health technology to avoid a hospital admission, according to new research from the NHS Confederation.

The majority of patients would use health technology to avoid a hospital admission, with a similar proportion happy to use technology to monitor their health and share information and data with their doctors, according to new research by the NHS Confederation.

The report, Patient empowerment: what is the role of technology in transforming care, included the results of a survey or more than 1,000 adults in the UK  and interviews with individuals with long-term conditions and who have frequent interaction with the health system.

Key questions covered by the report included how might people use technology to have more control over their health and wellbeing and do they want to?

The NHS Confederation, in partnership with Google Health, commissioned Ipsos to explore people’s behaviours, attitudes and beliefs about responsibility and control when it comes to their health, the role that health technologies play in this, along with their expectations about the future of healthcare.

Health technology can empower patients

It found that more than 7 in 10 people (72%) would also use technology including wearable and health monitoring devices to help better manage and monitor their health and they would also be willing to share the information and data gathered with their doctors and other medical professionals.

Nearly 4 in 5 people (78%) also said they would be happy to use different types of health monitoring equipment to help manage their health if an NHS professional recommended it to them, with nearly 9 in 10 (89%) people aged over 75 willing to do so.

The results also show that just over half (53%) of the 92 people included in the survey who have been diagnosed with a long-term condition resulting in them interacting with the health service four or more times a year, are already using the NHS App to access personal health information, compared with one third (33%) of the general population.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: “This research shows the potential of technology in empowering patients to better manage and monitor their own health, especially if it means they can avoid being admitted to hospital.

“There is clearly an appetite amongst the public to use technology to self-manage their long-term conditions, and more broadly, to take greater responsibility for their health and that of their families.

“From wearables to hospital at home, digital healthcare is already helping the NHS keep people healthier, intervene earlier and offer more tailored treatment to patients and this will only continue to develop. Although the government must recognise that additional funding, both for digital and capital, will be needed in order to fully grasp these opportunities. The government’s recent commitment to accelerate and widen the use of the NHS App should also help to strengthen the public’s understanding of the benefits of digital engagement.”

Nearly 90% of people with long-term conditions already use health technology

The findings also showed that just over 8 in 10 (83%) adults already use some form of technology to manage their health, and this increases to nearly 9 in 10 (89%) people living with one or more long-term condition. However, only just over half of those surveyed were currently satisfied with the technologies and tools available for them at present.

It also shows that nearly three-quarters (73%) of patients want their doctors to provide them with the “best technology available”, with three-fifths (58%) wishing “their doctor provided them with technology to monitor their health”.

Ease of appointment booking and the ability to communicate via messaging services with healthcare teams are also high on the list of priorities.

And over two thirds (68%) of people believe that healthcare in the future will include more technology and less reliance on healthcare professionals, although this comes with the concern that without access to the right technologies, access to healthcare could be limited.

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