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IT Key Factor in Shaping Healthcare, Survey Finds

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healthHealthcare will soon become more patient-friendly and customized to encourage more people to take responsibility for managing their health, and new tools and health IT will provide consumers with opportunities to take charge, according to a newly published report.

Released last Tuesday, “HealthCast: The customization of diagnosis, care and cure” is the result of a year-long study of 25 health systems around the world. The researchers noted that among both developed and emerging market countries, government and health leaders recognized that individuals must play a bigger role in managing their health and overall health spending.

According to the survey respondents, 86 percent of survey respondents believe the attitude in their country is that government will continue to be responsible for basic healthcare; however, the majority agreed that individuals ultimately have the greatest influence over their own health. Patients’ lack of willpower was cited as the biggest barrier to individuals actively managing their health, but 74 percent believe that unhealthy behavior will become less acceptable in their country.

The report also found that 76 percent said lack of knowledge and access to health information prevents individuals from managing their health. Seventy four percent believe patients do not understand the health information and choices available to them, but increased use of the Internet, social media and mobile communication will give consumers unprecedented new access and knowledge.

Implementation of electronic medical records and health IT are seen by most health systems as important steps to encourage collaboration, empower patients and customize care, according to the report. Forty two percent of global health leaders said EMRs will be operational in their countries within five years, and 71 percent said making EMRs available to patients would make their health system more efficient.

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