The majority of people would use health technology if it meant they could avoid going into hospital, new research carried out by Ipsos on behalf of the NHS Confederation supported by Google Health shows.
The same proportion - more than 7 in 10 people (72%) - would also use technology including wearable and health monitoring devices to help better manage and monitor their health and they would also be willing to share the information and data gathered with their doctors and other medical professionals.
The survey of 1,037 members of the public highlights people’s increasing appetite for using technology to self-manage their care, and more broadly, to take greater responsibility for their health and that of their families.
Nearly 4 in 5 people (78%) also said they would be happy to use different types of health monitoring equipment to help manage their health if an NHS professional recommended it to them, with nearly 9 in 10 (89%) people aged over 75 willing to do so.
The results also show that just over half (53%) of the 92 people included in the survey who have been diagnosed with a long-term condition resulting in them interacting with the health service four or more times a year, are already using the NHS App to access personal health information, compared with one third (33%) of the general population.
The government recently announced a target for patients at more than 90 per cent of general practices across the country to be able to use the app to see their records, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions by March 2024.
Commenting on the findings, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:
"This research shows the potential of technology in empowering patients to better manage and monitor their own health, especially if it means they can avoid being admitted to hospital.
“There is clearly an appetite amongst the public to use technology to self-manage their long-term conditions, and more broadly, to take greater responsibility for their health and that of their families.
“From wearables to hospital at home, digital healthcare is already helping the NHS keep people healthier, intervene earlier and offer more tailored treatment to patients and this will only continue to develop. Although the government must recognise that additional funding, both for digital and capital, will be needed in order to fully grasp these opportunities.
“The government’s recent commitment to accelerate and widen the use of the NHS App should also help to strengthen the public’s understanding of the benefits of digital engagement.
“However, the decisions we make now as a society will determine whether technological change means we can make continuous improvement in the offer we make to everyone through the NHS, or whether it will divide ever more widely the ‘healthy haves’ from the ‘unhealthy have nots’. We must always deliver greater digitisation with equity in mind.
“Ultimately, to help the NHS survive and thrive for years to come we must continue to change our model of healthcare so that we move from patients being passive recipients of care to one in which they are active participants in their own health and wellbeing. Empowering individuals to be able to make greater use of technology will help deliver the long term shifts we need to make.”
Susan Thomas, UK Director, Google Health added:
“Google Health has been privileged to partner with NHS Confederation and Ipsos to drive this piece of research; the findings have resonated with our mission to help everyone, everywhere be healthier through products and services that connect and bring meaning to health information.”
Elsewhere, the survey findings showed that just over 8 in 10 (83%) adults already use some form of technology to manage their health, and this increases to nearly 9 in 10 (89%) people living with one or more long-term condition. However, only just over half of those surveyed were currently satisfied with the technologies and tools available for them at present.
It also shows that nearly three-quarters (73%) of patients want their doctors to provide them with the “best technology available”, with three-fifths (58%) wishing “their doctor provided them with technology to monitor their health”.
Ease of appointment booking and the ability to communicate via messaging services with healthcare teams are also high on the list of priorities.
And over two thirds (68%) of people believe that healthcare in the future will include more technology and less reliance on healthcare professionals, although this comes with the concern that without access to the right technologies, access to healthcare could be limited.
Notes to editors
The NHS Confederation supported by Google Health commissioned Ipsos to undertake quantitative and qualitative research to:
- uncover the public’s understanding, attitudes and beliefs about responsibility and control over their health
- explore the impact of health technologies and citizen expectations, needs and ambitions
- understand attitudes and future needs with respect to health data and privacy. Ipsos conducted an online survey among 1,037 adults (18+) in the UK.
332 of these respondents, have been diagnosed with a long-term condition; of those, 92 respondents had a long-term health condition resulting in them interacting with the health system four or more times a year. In addition to the online survey, qualitative interviews were conducted with seven respondents with long-term health conditions and frequent interaction with the health system. All fieldwork took place between March and April 2023.
We are the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The members we represent employ 1.5 million staff, care for more than 1 million patients a day and control £150 billion of public expenditure. We promote collaboration and partnership working as the key to improving population health, delivering high-quality care and reducing health inequalities.