Survey Puts Digital Health in the Spotlight

OTC GuideJune 2018
Volume 22
Issue 1

Accenture recently released a survey of patients regarding the use of digital health. Here are some of the main takeaways:

Is AI All That?

Although artificial intelligence (AI) sounds far-fetched, those who own an Alexa- or Siri-enabled device are already using it. Alexa and similar home voice assistants are already targeting the home health setting. Patients seem interested in the further use of devices that are AI-enabled to do home blood work, schedule health appointments and payments, serve as a virtual coach, analyze genetic data, and help with medication monitoring, according to the survey. Patients view these devices as a service that is always available that saves trips to the doctor. But some people still prefer the human touch, so AI and machines at home for health care are probably not on the horizon for now.

Apps and Devices Are Big

Consumers are 33% likely to use a wearable device compared with 9% in 2014. Nearly half (48%) of consumers use a mobile application for their health compared with 16% in 2014. Yet, use of websites for health information is down slightly from 58% to 56% and mobile use has grown from 36% to 46%.

Patients Want Their Health Data

Patients are downloading and accessing their health portals provided by doctors more frequently. Compared with 2016, when just 27% said that they accessed their electronic health records, 38% are now logging onto those sites.

Sharing Is OK

Patients are much more likely to share health data with family and friends than they were in 2016. Abilify MYCITE smart tablet, for example, allows patients to share whether they took their medication with not only their health care team but also others they trust. Likewise, consumers are also more likely to share data with health insurance plans and online communities.

Virtual Care Is In

Nearly 75% of consumers would use virtual care for after-hours appointments or attend a class on their health conditions. Then, more than 50% would use a virtual visit for follow-up after their doctor appointments, discuss a health concern, get follow-up services after hospitalization, participate in a family member's appointment, and have a virtual exam conducted for a non-urgent condition. However, less than 50% of patients want virtual visits to replace their annual physical exams or an urgent concern or visit.

Timothy Aungst, PharmD, is an assistant professor of pharmacy at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts.


Accenture Consulting. Meet today's healthcare team: patients + doctors + machines: Accenture 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health. Published 2018. Accessed March 9, 2018.

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