- Research report commissioned by Philips reveals collaboration is key to integrated health and keeping Americans healthy
- Clear perception gaps exist between healthcare professionals and patients on accountability to prevent poor health
Andover, MA – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) today launched the results of a new report, the Future Health Index (FHI), an extensive international study which explores how 13 countries around the world are positioned to meet long-term global health challenges through integration and connected care technologies. The report highlights that the U.S. ranks highest on healthcare access and high on connected care technology adoption, but lower than average on healthcare integration. While healthcare system integration is recognized as important and beneficial in the U.S., it is still in its early stages. Additionally, although interest in connected care technology is high, the U.S. is not yet taking advantage of opportunities to realize the full benefits of these devices in powering integrated healthcare, signaling areas of improvement and opportunities for radical change in the American healthcare system.
Perception Gaps in Personal Health Management
While both patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) surveyed in the FHI agree that access to care in the U.S. is good, there are some wide contradictions in place when it comes to personal health management. For instance:
- 88% of Americans would rather be healthy than rich, yet only 37% anticipate that their health will be very good or excellent in the next ten years.
- Four out of five Americans over the age of 50 suffer from one or more chronic conditions.
- Only 13% of HCPs predict that our health would be very good or excellent in ten years.
Moreover, healthcare professionals do not believe that Americans know how to manage their health effectively:
- Both patients (81%) and healthcare professionals (78%) agree individuals have full responsibility for preventing poor health.
- Patients are most confident that they have both the knowledge (81%) and tools (74%) to manage their own health effectively.
- Only half as many HCPs think patients have the knowledge (41%) and tools (49%) to do so.
- Similarly, half of HCPs said they have patients who think they know a lot about healthy living, but actually do not.
This indicates that there is gap between what we believe is considered appropriate management of an individual’s health and what professionals deem is necessary to ensure appropriate care.
Additionally, the top reasons Americans have not visited a healthcare professional include: the cost of care, denial that they need to see a doctor, lack of time to go and difficultly getting an appointment.
Connected Care Technology
When it comes to new consumer technologies aimed at improving certain aspects of an individual’s health, the FHI found that Americans believe connected care technology, such as wearable devices, are helpful:
- 79% of connected care device owners believe the device has allowed them to take better control of their health.
- Most Americans only use them for a short period of time and 63% of device owners have not shared the data from the device with a HCP.
- More than three-quarters (76%) of device users - who were currently not using their devices - had only used their wearable to track physical activity for six months or less.
- When asked why they stopped using the device, more than half (54%) said they just “lost interest in using the device.”
These findings indicate that even if relevant health data is being collected, it is not being examined by a professional who could potentially deliver recommendations and discuss observations that could positively impact an individual’s health. Further validating that today’s connected devices need to move beyond lifestyle products and support collaboration and better health management.
“The Future Health Index allows us to understand what the barriers to integration are in the U.S. and to explore how technology could be harnessed to accelerate the shift to preventative care, while still addressing the needs of Americans who are already managing health issues,” said Brent Shafer, CEO of Philips North America. “As a health technology company dedicated to improving people’s lives, we are now taking that a step further, working with leading healthcare networks such as Cleveland Clinic, Westchester Medical Center Health and Banner Health to understand how we can develop integrated technologies, care and business models that take healthcare beyond the hospital environment and bring it closer to home.”
In order to improve the quality, access and affordability of care, healthcare systems around the world are transforming from a focus on hospital-based reactive care to new models of integrated, coordinated care from healthy living and prevention to diagnosis, treatment and home care. To further explore how this will impact the future of U.S. healthcare, Philips partnered with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to examine the market perceptions that are impacting the FHI findings, as well as the future forces that will impact what the future of U.S. health might look like in 2026.
According to IFTF, healthcare cannot keep pace with illness as people age. Despite medical advances that have boosted life expectancy, over the next decade, healthcare leaders and decision makers must redefine access, integration and technology adoption, moving decision-making to the patient and family.
In order to move from reactive to preventative care, individuals will be expected to be true partners in managing their own health. The ultimate goal must be to design a healthcare system and engage patients in ways that help to ensure their health span matches to their life spans.
IFTF also highlights three key forces that will inform and influence patient and provider views on access, integration and technology adoption over the next decade. They include:
- Flipped Care: Access to healthcare will change from provider-centered to person-centered where encounters between patients and the healthcare system will occur virtually and in new consumer-directed settings. Demonstrating the need for integration and connected care outlined in the FHI findings.
- Integrative Health Systems: A system of health that will include the external factors well beyond the walls of the clinic or hospital: housing, family support, food, wealth and education. The FHI report highlights that integration is still in its infancy in the U.S.
- Encoded Intuition: A shift in technology from assistive to empowering devices that will rely heavily on the patient’s willingness to take a proactive role in managing their health. Reinforcing the FHI finding that connected care devices could play an empowering role in improving self-management of health.
In fact, according to IFTF, HCPs thought an automated tracking program would be as effective a tool as better access to health facilities for patients, and more effective than more personalized consultations and treatments from their healthcare providers. The IFTF also outlines that the next wave of wearables will be designed as temporary tools to help reprogram lifestyles and behaviors in order to improve overall health and well-being. Ultimately, the goal of a health app or fitness wearables will be to make themselves redundant, helping people to make better health choices until they are no longer dependent on the device, not to build dependency on another technology.
“It was critical to consider the opinions and attitudes towards health systems today outlined in the Future Health Index, as well as take into account how those needs and preferences will change over the next decade,” said Rachel Maguire, Research Director, Health Horizons Program at Institute for the Future. “This allows all stakeholders to be better positioned to design healthcare systems that are effective in improving the clinical care experience and sustaining individual and population health over the long-term. It also raises the need for Americans to take a more proactive role in promoting their quality of life.”