Many Canadians are willing to share their personal information to facilitate ease of access to personal health information through digital channels. Think of accessing lab or diagnostic test results online days after getting the test, instead of having to wait for results and visiting the doctor, or waiting for a phone call.
The Global Consumer Insights Survey (GCIS) shows consumers are willing to engage in non-traditional activities online more and more. This is the case especially in health care, where almost two-thirds of the global sample say they’re willing to access services through companies not typically associated with health like Amazon, Apple and Facebook.
Globally, consumers are already using their mobile phones for health information: almost 75% of consumers have installed as many as three apps related to fitness, health care or wellness on their mobile devices.
In health care, it’s especially important to put the patient or family member at the heart of any operation. Canadians have more access to their health care data than ever before. They’re able to access prescriptions, diagnostic test results and even doctors virtually without having to leave their homes (depending on their location in the country).
Nearly half (46%) of Canadian respondents said they’re “somewhat comfortable” accessing health care products or services from a company with a product that collates all of their health care information in one place. While 21% said they’re “very comfortable”, there’s still some room for growth.
Canadians are similarly comfortable with digital access to diagnostic tests, over-the-counter medications, health insurance information, prescription medicines and virtual doctor visits.
While uptake on consumer apps in health care has been on the slower side to date, 32% of all Canadians surveyed said they use a health care, wellness, fitness or medical application on their phone, smartwatch or tablet. That number rose to 37% for those aged 25–34. Interestingly, there was also a difference between groups in what they monitor on their smart devices. While exercise and diet monitoring were most important to Canadians overall, stress and sleep tracking were the most important for those aged 18–34. Fertility and period tracking were popular among the younger age group as well.
By providing digital access, your organization can put the patient (customer) at the centre of their health care, allowing them control of their information like never before. This also gives health care providers easier access to data, supporting all sides.
But it’s important to remember the sensitive nature of this data when compared to for example their grocery spending habits. While giving patients access to their health care data online opens up their options, health care organizations need to make sure proper security policies are in place, so patients feel safe and trust institutions.
Trust and brand protection are tightly linked. The emotion and value of personal health information is far greater than a breach in other areas. Consumer organizations can play a role in coordinating care and interactions with the system for patients and their families around pharmacy, nutrition as well as other health service providers.