The Sanitas health insurance foundation wants to know what people in Switzerland think about digitalisation and explore how it affects the way they think and act. The results of the studies and surveys are designed to encourage public debate.
This edition of the survey trains the spotlight on the participants’ expectations and experiences with regard to digitalisation in the healthcare sector. Where do people stand on the use of health apps? What motivates people to share their health data?
Demand for more digitalisation – with clear rules
We live in a networked world. For many of the survey respondents, this not only means being online and connected via their smartphones at all times, but also regularly recording their daily activities and, increasingly, their health data. The population is also open to the idea of health data being stored and managed digitally in a central system and being made available to medical professionals as and when necessary. Participants see the benefits of digitalising health data, but want clear rules to be put in place. Citizens must have full control over their health data at all times and decide who they want to share it with. The state has to set a clear legal framework for this to be possible.
Willingness to share data, particularly for research, is increasing
More and more respondents would make their own health data available for medical research. They see the advantages of using health data to develop better therapies and services that benefit everyone. What can be done specifically to motivate people to share their data? Key motivational factors include developing new methods of treatment and potentially reducing healthcare costs. Financial incentives are considered less important and may even be counterproductive, with a little experiment in the survey indicating that the prospect of financial compensation may make people less willing to share data. Survey participants stated that they want more information on how using health data could benefit research.
Health apps are popular, mental health apps less so
Respondents trust medical professionals even more than they trust those involved in research. Would patients be willing to use health apps on their own or to accompany medical treatment? Medically certified apps could be one way of reducing the pressure on the health system. Six out of ten respondents said they could imagine using such an app if they had a medical problem. Younger respondents are most open to this solution. The shortage of healthcare workers is particularly acute in the mental health sector. Young people are particularly affected by this, experiencing long waiting times for treatment even in cases of acute psychological problems. Mental health apps have the potential to relieve this bottleneck and provide help while those suffering wait for treatment. But only a minority of respondents said they would be willing to use such an app, with acceptance much lower for mental health apps compared to those available for general health. Only among younger respondents up to the age of 35 would a majority use a mental health app.
The complete report offers further insights, charts and commentary – including, for example, answers to the question of who respondents see as the main cost drivers in healthcare.