A New Species: The Digital Patient

In another display of beauty, the folks at CDW Healthcare recently released the following infographic describing the rise of the digital patient, a new specifies of mankind. As CDW notes, thanks to innovative mobile technology and the prevalence of broadband networks, patients are investing in their own healthcare more than ever before. Interest in their health and the ability to self diagnose ultimately may be the key to long-term patient engagement, but of course that’s a sticky wicket of its own.

“From searching for a physician online to tracking fitness activities via wearable technology to accessing their personal health records through a portal — patients are embracing mHealth and technologies that will help improve their well-being. In fact, the number of adults using smartphones to monitor their health grew to 75 million in 2012 — a number expected to more than triple by the end of 2014,” CDW writes on its blog.

According to the graphic, patients are “better informed” before they enter their physician’s office, are looking to social media for their health research and are embracing mobile devices as a way to connect with their caregivers. Additionally, the vast majority of patients want access to their medical records online. The graphic also suggests that patients are becoming more aware and attracted to portals, though I’m still skeptical that this is a widespread phenomenon.

Consumers also are getting more interested in wearable health tech, however, and are tracking their outcomes, especially using their smartphones; 112 million devices are expected to be in use by 2018.

Finally, security of the information and its exchange is of the highest importance to consumers , as if is for all of us, but it’s worth pointing out because even with all of the development and patient involvement in their care, they are still concerned about the safety of their information.

Take a look at the following graphic to see if there’s anything surprising here.

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