Do Doctors Want You Involved in Your Diagnosis and Treatment?

Survey of 827 medical professionals tells the story.

By Kevin RR Williams

HEALTH We can agree on at least one thing. Even without the Apple iOS 8 update that includes a range of HealthKit compatible apps, technology has radically changed the face of health care over the past decade. A survey of Medscape members indicates a growing desire for patients to become more involved with diagnosis and treatment as available digital medical data proliferates and becomes less generic by means of monitoring sensors.

Patient and Doctor Differences

On the question of whether technology should be used by patients to assist in the diagnostic process, 84% of patients agreed, compared with 69% of physicians. Similarly, 89% of patients feel they have the right to see all physician notes about their care; 64% of doctors agree. More physicians (77%) than patients (58%) feel lab test results should be withheld in case a discussion is required.

Patient and Doctor Consensus

Ninety six percent of both doctors and patients agree that patients should be allowed to see their electronic health record (EHR). Only 4% of each group feels such data should be censored by physicians.

Nearly two thirds of patients (64%) and physicians (63%) agree that smartphones should be used for routine blood tests as lab-on-a-chip technology becomes mainstream. Sending heart rate and rhythm data electronically to doctors saw similar acceptance among patients (66%) and physicians (61%). However, a range of 16 to 29 percent separated opinions for diagnosis of skin problems, eye, and ear exams respectively.

About a third of both doctors (32%) and patients (31%) feel there should be better ways to monitor health than scheduling annual asymptomatic physical exams. Patients (62%) slightly outnumber physicians (58%) regarding the necessity of such annual exams.

How do you feel about sharing real-time health data with your physicians? Do you think that the Internet, apps, sensors and monitors empower patients to make more decisions about medical diagnoses and appropriate treatment to remain A Bit More Healthy? Where should we draw the line on patient privacy and engagement?

Tags: alliances, data, epatient, healthcare, software, technology

  1. Docs Willing to Share Medical Practice With Patients?Sort Of Kenneth J. Terry, MA; Marrecca Fiore. (subscription required)
  2. HealthKit.
  3. Margin of error for entire sample is ± 2.65% at a 95% confidence level, using a point estimate (statistic) of 50% with a ±3.4% margin of error for respondents.