Home Are patients ignoring doctors’ wearables prescriptions?

Are patients ignoring doctors’ wearables prescriptions?

Doctors are increasingly prescribing health-related wearables, but a survey shows many patients are ignoring doctors’ orders.

The site Gadgets And Wearables reports the results from a recent Council for Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) survey of over 30,000 U.S. patents and 626 U.S. doctors.

Only 4% of surveyed patients responded that their doctor had recommended self-tracking with wearables in the previous year. However, 40% of primary care providers said they had recommended using the devices in the same time period.

Even greater discrepancies arose when patients reported that only 4% of their doctors prescribed mobile apps to track biometrics like blood pressure or heart rate, and just 4% prescribed apps to track activity. For the same questions, doctors instead reported a prescription rate of 45% for biometric apps and a whopping 52% for physical activity tracking apps.

“This survey is evidence of the failure of American healthcare to provide coordinated, technologically enabled, high-quality healthcare to the majority of people,” said CAPP Chairman Robert Pearl. “These findings reinforce CAPP’s long-held belief that patient-centered care models are critical to closing the gaps between what patients need and what they are currently receiving.”

Not all doctors offer a digital medicine portal

Though the survey revealed a large number of patients not taking their digital medicine, it did gather some more positive findings.

Specifically it found that 48% of patients said they had access to a patient portal, which is a significant increase from last year. Also greatly improved from 2015 was the 42% of patients who reported online scheduling availability from their doctors’ offices and the 42% who had access to online secure messaging platforms to communicate with their doctors.

The disconnect between doctors and patients was also much less pronounced with 50% of physicians saying that they offer portals, 27% allowing online scheduling and 30% enabling secure messaging.

Though the CAPP survey indicates that many U.S. doctors are getting on board the medical wearables bandwagon, other corners of the medical community are still showing skepticism to the new technology. Some healthcare providers have indicated that the clinical community will not accept consumer-facing medical wearables until the data is relevant and reliable.

This follows recent comments by the American Medical Association that the digital health space is awash with “snake oil salesmen.”

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