Less than one-half of all consumers are using the web and digital healthcare tools to look up their medical records or to manage chronic conditions, mental health, or their healthcare spending, says Kaiser Family Foundation.

Plenty of consumers are going online to research healthcare systems, and many more have downloaded health and wellness apps.

Today, 70% of consumers have used the web to research symptoms or seek answers to medical questions, and 51% use apps or other tech tools to track their sleep, fitness or diet, says a new survey of about 1,000 consumers by non-profit healthcare research firm The Kaiser Family Foundation.

It’s time to pay close, serious attention to what is real and what is hype in health technology.

But less than one-half of all consumers are using the web and digital healthcare tools to look up their medical records or to manage chronic conditions, mental health, or their healthcare spending.

Indeed, only about 44% of consumers check their medical records online, and only 25% use digital healthcare to manage aspects of their health and wellness, the Kaiser survey finds.

“Technology companies trying to disrupt the healthcare system still have a long way to go,” says Kaiser Family Foundation president Drew Altman. “Splashy health technology announcements are everywhere, but many are more hype than reality.”

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Other survey findings include:

  • Nearly half of 18-44-year-olds have gone online to research a provider—compared with just 32% of patients older than 45.
  • 84% of consumers have yet to try telehealth and 62% and 59% of consumers, respectively, have never gone online or use an app to track or manage their healthcare spending or research the cost of medical services from different healthcare providers.
  • Only 50% of consumers are using the web and apps to manage medications, such as setting reminders or accessing information about medication interactions.
  • Less than 50%-48% of consumers go online to fill or refill prescriptions.

“It’s time to pay close, serious attention to what is real and what is hype in health technology,” Altman says. “This conversation, which has been the province of investors, technology companies and the business press, warrants more serious and objective questions about the effects on people’s health, privacy, and their health spending.”

 

 

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