The forecasted growth rate in technology spending by health care provider organization is interesting – currently at 12% per year during the period from 2014 to 2020, reaching $68.3 billion in 2020. What are these provider organizations investing in? Our previous coverage shows that investments in analytics, workflow improvement, telehealth, population health, smart medical devices, and remote monitoring top the list (see Provider Organization Tech Investments Predicted To Double – What Tops The List & Why?).
But the magnitude of provider organization investments aren’t the only part of the health care technology equation. For health care executives contemplating their future technology strategy, exploring trends in consumer use of technologies is also vital. The key questions are, what are consumer tech adoption rates for digital health looking like right now, and which technologies are getting the most traction?
While the exact answers depend on where you look, consumer adoption of digital health platforms is rising. The second annual national consumer survey from Rock Health found what the organization called a “digital health tipping point,” as consumers adopted digital tools as a “record rate” — 46% are active digital health adopters (up from 19% in 2015) and only 12% are non-adopters, down from 20% in 2015 (for a more granular breakdown of these numbers, see 50 Things We Now Know About Digital Health Consumers).
And this use of digital health is increasing across all populations. From 2011 through 2014, the percentage of adults age 65 and older who used digital health technologies increased from 21% in 2011 to 25% in 2014. In 2011, about 16% obtained health information online, 8% filled prescriptions, 7% contacted clinical professionals, and 5% handled insurance online (for a more granular breakdown of these numbers, see 25% Of Older Adults Used Digital Health Technology In 2014).
What does digital health adoption look like by type of technology? About 80% of adults in the United States have used one or more of six digital health technologies – with 7% of consumers using telemedicine, 7% using consumer-driven genetic testing, 12% using wearable devices, 15% using mobile health tracking, 50% using online health reviews, and 71% using online health information services (for a more granular breakdown of these numbers, see Consumer Adoption Rates Of Digital Health Tech Varied – From 7% For Telemedicine To 71% For Online Health Information). And a 2016 survey from Deloitte found telehealth to be the most-used health care technology among consumers surveyed, while remote monitoring (such as location tracking and fall monitoring) was most popular among caregivers (see Will patients and caregivers embrace technology-enabled health care? Findings from the Deloitte 2016 Survey of US Health Care Consumers).
What are the implications for executive teams? Technology investments have a number of dimensions. First, there are technology investments focused on business operations optimization through improved performance and cost reductions. But there are also technology purchases where the “return” will be realized in increasing consumer preference and consumer engagement. Aligning these two perspectives is the key to a successful technology strategy.
For more from OPEN MINDS on selecting the technology that can lead your competitive advantage, check out More Tools For Tech ROI, How To Select New Treatment Technologies & How To Calculate Their Value, and Planning Your Treatment Tech Investment. And join me on September 21 at 1 p.m. Eastern, when I will host a webinar exploring best practices for tech in a changing market exclusively for OPEN MINDS Circle Elite members — Forecasting The Future: What’s The Impact Of Health Care Technology For Consumers & The Service Delivery System. Not an Elite member? Upgrade your account now to access OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence Reports, the Government RFP & Contract Database, special registrations to all OPEN MINDS institutes, and exclusive online executive education events.