Earlier this year Accenture published a report, Connected Health: The Drive to Integrated Care, that analyzed the results of a survey of 3,727 physicians in eight countries. Accenture interviewed 500 physicians from Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Spain and the US, and about 200 in Singapore. Within the report's almost 300 pages are a number of findings, but most of the discussion around mobile health is focused on patient engagement.
"In terms of technologies that directly engage patients, the US is relatively well progressed compared with the other countries surveyed," Accenture wrote.
The firm found that about 17 percent of US physicians said that their patients had electronic access to their medical information, while physicians in the other countries surveyed are "far behind in this area," according to Accenture. About 25 percent of the US physicians said that their patients can see health-related information from their medical records during consultations and they can use online or mobile tools to communicate with them or refill prescriptions. About 17 percent of the US physicians also said their patients can electronically book, change, or cancel appointments. Some 19 percent said their patients receive electronic reminders for follow-up care. About 21 percent said their patients can access health information and education for chronic condition management.
Overall, however, digital health tools for chronic condition management are lacking, Accenture found.
"Progress toward remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions is relatively limited in the US (and indeed across all countries), with only 8 percent of physicians stating that their patients can use telemonitoring devices to monitor and record their own health indicators and remotely inform physicians of their conditions," the firm wrote.
In February a small consumer survey conducted by HIMSS and sponsored by Qualcomm Life found that a majority of consumers in the US are familiar with the term remote monitoring device, but only a quarter of those surveyed reported using one before. What's more: Only 16 percent had heard about such devices from their healthcare provider.
Accenture does predict more sophisticated mobile health apps in the future:
"Several developments already point the way. New, independently developed, mobile healthcare 'apps' are giving people the tools to eat well and live well, and to begin managing their own healthcare needs. Industry data suggests that this will be an area of huge expansion over the coming years, embracing the potential of more powerful smartphones, tablet PCs and cloud capability."
A report over at RCRWireless quotes Health 2.0 founder Matthew Holt who points out that Accenture did not survey physicians in some of the more advanced health IT markets: Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, and the Netherlands.