Survey: 69 percent of physicians think patients should use tech to assist in diagnosis

By Aditi Pai
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Medscape surveyEighty four percent of patients said they should be able to use technology to help their doctors make a diagnosis, while 69 percent of physicians said patients should use such tools to help them form a diagnosis. That's according to a recent survey from WebMD. In a follow up, the survey asked physicians if patients should self-diagnose using technology, to which only 17 percent of physicians said they should.

The survey was completed by 1,102 random visitors to WebMD's consumer-facing website and 1,406 active members of Medscape, WebMD's clinician-facing service. Within the group of clinicians surveyed, 827 were physicians, 152 were nurse practitioners, 85 were nurses, 107 were physician's assistants, and 235 were medical school students. 

Almost the same percentage of patients and physicians, 64 percent and 63 percent respectively, said that if the technology exists, smartphones should be used for remotely conducting blood tests. Just under 70 percent of physicians said smartphones could replace office visits to check heart rate and heart rhythm, 63 percent said smartphones could replace office visits to check skin problems, 49 percent said smartphones could replace office visits for eye exams, and 54 percent of physicians said smartphones could replace office visits for an ear exam.

Ninety six percent of physicians and patients said patients should be allowed to see their electronic health record, but just 4 percent of physicians said patients should have access to only the information the physician wants to share. When asked about physician notes, 89 percent of patients said they have the right to see all of the notes taken by a physician during an office visit, while 64 percent of physicians thought patients have a right to see their notes. Just 11 percent of patients said doctors should be able to choose what notes patients see and 36 percent of physicians said they should be able to show only the notes they want to patients.

Fifty four percent of patients and 38 percent of physicians said that patients own their medical records, but 23 percent of patients and 39 percent of physicians said physicians own patient health records.