Strong patient support for new medical technologies in doctor's surgery

3 November 2005

Rochester NY, USA. A new Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll shows that while only a minority of U.S. adults have experience with new medical technologies such as electronic medical records and digital imaging equipment in their doctor's office, vast majorities are in favour of having their doctors adopt new technologies in their practices. Furthermore, a large number of adults believe new medical technologies will either reduce the costs of medical care or are worth the investment because they will improve the quality of care.

The online survey involved 2,048 U.S. adults and was conducted by Harris Interactive(R) between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4, 2005 for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition.

Experience with new medical technologies

Relatively small numbers of U.S. adults report that their doctor has ever used some new technologies for them or a member of their family during a doctor visit or to provide or discuss follow-up treatment. Specifically:

  • Sixteen percent (16%) report that their doctor has used an electronic medical record to capture their medical information.
  • Fourteen percent (14%) say their doctor has used a personal digital
    device like a Palm Pilot or a hand-held computer to record their
  • Eight percent (8%) report that their doctor has used e-mail to
    communicate directly with them or their family members, while an equal percentage reports that their doctor has used digital imaging equipment that allows the doctor to send pictures or other images via e-mail (8%).
  • Only five percent (5%) have experience with a home monitoring device that allowed them to send medical information — like blood pressure readings or blood tests — to their doctor's office via the telephone or e-mail.

Support for the adoption of new medical technologies

Despite limited personal experience with these new medical technologies, at least three-quarters of adults strongly or somewhat favor having their doctor(s) use these types of new technologies when caring for them or their family members. Adults most strongly favor the use of home monitoring devices (83% strongly or somewhat favor), followed closely by e-mail for doctors and patients to communicate directly (81%), electronic medical records (78%), digital imaging equipment (78%) and personal digital devices to record information (75%).

Considerable support also exists for new technology being developed that uses internal imaging to capture characteristics of a human's internal anatomy, such as veins in the palm of the hand, to confirm identity. About seven in 10 (71%) adults would strongly or somewhat favor using this type of technology to help protect patients' medical records (i.e., to restrict release or use of medical records without such verification).

The value of new medical technologies

The majority of adults do believe these new medical technologies provide value; nearly one-third (31%) believes new technologies such as electronic medical records and digital imaging devices are worth the money they cost because they will improve patient care, and 36% believe these new technologies will ultimately reduce the costs of medical care. Only one in 10 (10%) believes these new technologies cost more money than they are worth and a further 23% are not sure.

About the Survey

The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll is an exclusive poll that is published in the Health Industry Edition of The Wall Street Journal Online at http://www.wsj.com/health


To top

To top