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Doctors, Patients Welcome the Use of Technology in Medicine

Update Date: Sep 23, 2014 11:09 AM EDT

The efforts to digitalize medicine have progressed over the years. The role of technology has grown from simply keeping electronic health records to connecting doctors to their patients via devices, such as smartphones and tablets. In order to see how technology is affecting doctors and patients, WebMD and Medscape Digital Technology conducted a survey and discovered that many doctors and patients are embracing these changes.

"Technology is really democratizing all aspects of the doctor's visit," Eric Topol, MD, editor-in-chief of Medscape and the chief academic officer of Scripps Health stated according to WebMD.

The survey reached more than 1,000 patients and 1,400 health professionals, with 827 of them being doctors. The survey asked them questions about any issues associated with the changes in medical care due to technology. These issues involved but were not limited to the use of smartphones during the diagnostic process, any misunderstanding about the costs of a procedure, and the right to look at one's medical record.

Overall, 84 percent of patients and 69 percent of doctors stated that they welcome the use of technology in assisting the diagnostic process. Due to many apps and devices, patients can self-monitor chronic conditions, such as their blood sugar levels. By having the data ready, doctors can focus their time on addressing other health issues. 64 percent of patients and 63 percent of doctors agreed that using a smartphone as a diagnostic device for the blood tests could be helpful.

Patients and doctors also agreed that patients have a right to know the full costs of a procedure before undergoing it. Both groups also stated that patients should have access to the prices charged by other health care providers for the same medical procedure. Both groups supported genetic testing that can diagnose health problems in a fetus, identify and treat underlying problems, and pinpoint side effects from drugs.

One of the major aspects that patients and doctors did not agree on was the use of technology to help diagnose a condition remotely. 40 percent of patients stated that they liked the idea of getting medical help without having to go into the office whereas only 17 percent of doctors liked the idea. Patients and doctors were also divided when asked who they thought owned the medical records. 54 percent of patients believed that they owned their own records whereas 39 percent of doctors stated that they were the owners of their patients' records. Although doctors technically own the medical records, patients own the data on it. Topol believes that patients should at least own a copy of their own records.

For more information on the survey, click here.

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