The U.K Government’s Office for Life Sciences has commissioned a market research piece that has been recently published by Deloitte, in which PKB features.
This blog post highlights a few interesting quotes from the paper and some of our own conclusions.
Digital health innovations are only just starting to be more widely accepted as necessary for the future of efficient healthcare service delivery. (page 1)
The digital health market is one of the fastest growing markets globally but is still in its infancy, with difficult to categorise products and services. Solutions must focus on cost effectiveness, improving patient care and creating efficiencies in healthcare systems, but the methods of doing so vary and are evolving with the changing landscape of technological advances and political restructures of the healthcare systems which they they aim to influence.
The paper defines four market segments of digital health:
- Telehealthcare (telecare and telehealth): support and assistance provided at a distance using ICT and the remote exchange of clinical data between a patient and their clinician
- mHealth: mobile phone applications relating to health and/or wellbeing and connected wearable devices
- Health analytics: software solutions and analytical capabilities needed to assimilate big data
- Digitised health systems: digital health information storage and exchange of digitised patient medical records. (page 2)
PKB falls most naturally within the digitised health systems segment, but due to the significant focus we have on interoperability and wide range of features within our record system, we extend into all three of the other segments. 2 way secure messaging between patients and those involved in their care, mobile applications, and partnerships with telehealth devices and applications are examples of services that fit within telehealthcare and mHealth, and the data capturing and analytic potential of PKB is substantial.
… digitised health systems can be divided into two areas: patient-held medical records and health system-held health records. Patient-held medical records, such as Patients Know Best, are controlled by the patient, who grants access to medical professionals. Health system-held medical record systems are electronic versions of traditional paper records, for example in primary care or acute hospital systems, but with additional functionality. (page 6)
As you can see from the chart above, the authors have placed patient medical records directly on the line between professional and consumer with regards to customer focus. This accurately represents the balance we have achieved with PKB, providing simple to use and intuitive features for patients, carers, family and friends, whilst also having a depth and level of detail that allows healthcare professionals to realise various benefits in improving patient care and sharing information.
However, a distinction is made between patient held digital records and health system-held electronic medical records. This distinction is not necessary with PKB, as our records are used by all of the people involved in a patient’s care and functionality is provided to fit their needs.
The telehealth market continues to remain at an early stage due to a lack of clinician buy-in and integration with other healthcare systems including medical records. In an NHS trial of GP Skype consultations, 94% of patients reported they would use the system again with 83% happy with the privacy aspect. As costs for video consultation continue to fall and it becomes increasingly accepted, remote appointments may become standard practice. (page 17)
The data quoted above highlights the popularity of remote online consultations, a feature used by many teams using PKB. The potential to save costs, both for healthcare providers and patients, is substantial. Patients commonly face difficult journeys to see their healthcare providers, and in many instances they can eliminate this stress inducing long journey to their appointment, along with the additional costs such as travel and parking. For clinicians, they can provide a service to patients wherever they are, whilst recording notes in the patient’s own shared record. There are secondary benefits as well, including ensuring face to face clinics are reserved for those that need them most.
PewResearch Centre found that the proportion of mobile phone users who use their phones to look up health information almost doubled from 17% in 2010 to 31% in 2012. Statista estimate that UK smartphone penetration is over 70% in 2015, and 76% of the British population access the internet every day.
In the UK, 50% of the population use the internet to self-diagnose with 75% going online for health information. 80% would like to view medical records online and 90% would use a service letting you ask questions to clinicians, suggesting a high level of trust in health technology. (page 25)
The need and desire for patients to access their healthcare information digitally is clear. With an abundance of information on the internet and various consumer applications and devices being used to track healthcare information, a patient held record to collate this information is essential to make sense of the data and inform the right people involved in a patient’s care.
The overarching theme from this study is that the UK is strong in many elements of digital health and has the potential to develop into a global leader in this segment…
Digital health solutions are already beginning to bring the positive change that is possible with the recent advancements in technology. The UK is proving to be a global frontrunner in this area, and we at PKB are proud to be leading the way in our speciality, providing every person with their medical information. Maintaining health, treating illness, and providing care relies on the right information being in the right hands, and patients are at the centre of every decision. We believe this is a basic right and, as the chart above displays, we are now ready to start ensuring more patients than ever get the care they deserve.
Digital Health in the UK: An industry study for the Office of Life Sciences