Attitudes changing towards wireless doctor-patient interaction, says report

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According to a report that was published recently by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), attitudes towards patients exchanging health data with their physician via wireless devices are changing.

The study, titled The New Role of Technology in Consumer Health and Wellness, examined consumer attitudes towards sending health information from wireless devices such as smartphones. According to the report, 36 percent of consumers would send medical information to their primary care doctor from a wireless device, and 31 percent stated that they would be interested in consulting with their physician through video conferencing technology. The authors of the study conducted qualitative interviews online with 1,639 consumers during a one-week period in September.

Other key finds of the report indicated that while 37 percent of respondents stated that they owned a smartphone, only 31 percent of those individuals indicated that they used a healthcare application.

“This is a big opportunity for [health app] developers because we’re still in the fairly early stages of smartphone and tablet adoption,” Ben Arnold, a senior analyst and researcher at CEA, told Information Week. “When ownership reaches above 50% we could see a fundamental shift in the way consumers think about health tech, as sensors improve, cameras become more sophisticated, and processors become more robust.”

Of those consumers who are more familiar with mobile healthcare IT applications, 48 percent that they would feel comfortable sharing data regarding their blood pressure with their physicians; 42 percent of respondents would share information about fluctuations in their weight; and 41 percent would allow the sharing of data regarding their heart rate.

The publication of the report follows a recent announcement by the mHealth Regulatory Coalition that it would seek to persuade the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to rethink plans to regulate mobile healthcare apps. The organization submitted a 220-page document outlining suggestions of how mobile healthcare apps should be overseen by the FDA, according to CMIO.

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