Deloitte: Half of US adults want to partner with their doctors

By Jonah Comstock
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DeloitteSixty-three percent of US adults who use fitness or health monitoring technology say that tech has led to significant behavior change, according to a survey of 3,616 US adults conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

They found that 28 percent of respondents had used technology to measure fitness and health goals and 23 percent had used technology to monitor a health issue, up from 17 percent and 15 percent respectively in 2013. Forty percent shared that fitness or monitoring information with their doctor.

Technology is also changing the way doctors and their patients relate, according to Deloitte's data. Nearly half of respondents said they prefer to partner with doctors rather than have their doctors make decisions for them, up from 40 percent in 2008, and 34 percent strongly believe doctors should encourage patients to raise questions. Yet these feelings aren't always backed up by actions -- only 16 percent of respondents actually asked their doctor to consider a treatment option other than the one their doctor initially recommended.

Twenty-two percent of respondents (32 percent of those with major chronic conditions) said they used technology to access, store and transmit health records in the last year, up from 13 percent in 2013. Thirteen percent of respondents who take prescription drugs have used electronic alerts or reminders and more than half are interested in that kind of medication adherence technology.

"Health care is becoming more digitized and consumer oriented," Greg Scott, principal at Deloitte Consulting, said in a statement. "It's not an overnight change, but more like how summer turns into fall – gradual yet very perceptible."

The study also looked at how patients use online tools and information to prepare for doctor visits. Sixteen percent of respondents (23 percent of millenials) who needed care went online for cost information, up from 11 percent in 2013. In addition, 71 percent of total respondents indicated they were "very" or "somewhat" likely to use a pricing tool in the future.

A quarter of respondents used a scorecard of some kind to compare the performance of doctors, hospitals or health plans, up from 19 percent in 2013. That went up to nearly half of millennials.

Patients still trust their doctors more than their health insurer, the study found -- 49 percent gave physician groups or medical practices a high trust rating, while only 21 percent gave that rating to health plans. Still, the latter number is up from just 10 percent in 2010.