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Patients Around the World Asked About the Future of Healthcare

Healthcare has come an incredibly long way in the last century. But as medicine progresses, healthcare faces other challenges – shrinking budgets, ageing populations and the rise of chronic disease.  Technology has the power to transform healthcare and GE asked the people who matter most – the patients – how they thought technology will help improve care.

A survey commissioned by GE Healthcare, asked 10, 000 participants from countries across the world what areas of healthcare concern them the most, and which innovations they think will guide medical care along the right path. Countries surveyed included the UK, the USA, Brazil, Australia, India and China. Naturally, each country’s healthcare system is vastly different. The differences in each country’s healthcare infrastructure reflect the differences in their social, economic and political circumstances.

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However, responses across the board were unanimous in some respects, showing an internationally shared desire for change in some key areas.

87% of all respondents believe that using technology to monitor health on-the-go will be the most important medical innovation, with particular regards to Cloud computing and telehealth.

89% of all respondents thought it would be helpful to know if they were at risk before actually falling ill. However, in the event that they do find out they are at risk, only 65% of people would do something about it. Interestingly, a survey carried out earlier in the year showed a similar desire to know about the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Broken down by country, the results are more revealing of the nature of each country’s national healthcare systems.

Brazil showed the strongest desire for shorter waiting times, at 81%. The result may arise from the fact that healthcare in Brazil is somewhat stratified; there is a gap between standards of private and public care that results in an uneven distribution of doctors and resources between the poorer north and the more affluent south.1

The country with the lowest number of respondents concerned about waiting times was Australia, at 62%. While still a majority, the homogeneity of Australia’s patient population compared to a country like Brazil, coupled with the Australian Medicare system, may very well account for these results.

Results were similar for concern over access to healthcare, with Brazil coming out on top, and the US and Australia towards the bottom.

When it comes to better quality of service, respondents from India show the highest overall concern. Healthcare in India is poorly regulated, be it in the public or private sectors. Healthcare spending is at one of the lowest rates in the world, and hundreds jostle to see specialists who are not always available.2

GE Healthcare is uniquely placed to use innovation, new technology and analytics to help transform healthcare and the way it is provided to patients. With the unique insights gained from this and other surveys, GE Healthcare will continue to work hard for better healthcare for all.

References                                        

1 – http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/29/how-sick-are-worlds-healthcare-systems-nhs-china-india-us-germany

2 – http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2008-05-17/news/27731792_1_absenteeism-mdgs-healthcare