London, United Kingdom – An international report published by Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA) reveals that our beleaguered NHS is more integrated than we realise and, in contrast with some other countries, both the public and HCPs are positive about the benefits offered by connected care technologies.1
The second annual Future Health Index, reveals that connected care technologies are already far more embedded into the practices of the UK public and HCPs than perceived. In fact, in the last 12 months, nearly half of HCPs (48 per cent) have seen an increase in the use of connected care technologies by primary care doctors, and over a third (38 per cent) have seen an increase in the rate of use by other primary and secondary healthcare services. In the UK, our systems are also better integrated than people realise; out of the 19 markets surveyed, we have a higher than average IT spend on IoT across software, connectivity and services in healthcare as a percentage of our GDP.
The general public is also embracing connected care technologies, with 31 per cent having used such technology to monitor a health indicator (e.g. heart rate, weight, blood pressure) in the last 12 months. Unsurprisingly, the younger generations (18-34) are leading the way with incorporating this kind of technology into their lifestyle, however, as the NHS plans to future-proof itself, it must acknowledge this is the direction the population is headed. Furthermore, about a quarter (26 per cent) of individuals aged 55+ have used this technology, indicating it is an approach suitable for all.
Many concerns around data privacy and data sharing have been at the forefront of discussions surrounding the integration of connected care technologies in health systems. Whilst undoubtedly there is a need to have robust standards in place to protect health data, it is clear that the move towards a digitalised healthcare system brings a multitude of benefits to all stakeholders, as well as the healthcare system itself. The report findings show that the general public is increasingly seeing the value of digital technologies with 57 per cent of those who have used connected care technology to track a health indicator(s) sharing their data with an HCP in the past 12 months.
As cardiac conditions are the highest cause of A&E submissions2, it is interesting to see that 31 per cent of the general population with a cardiovascular-related issue had a physician recommend tracking either blood pressure or heart rate as a first step to address the condition. The approach of introducing connected care into disease management is being seen across a variety of health conditions: