COMMENTARY

Topol on Doc, Patient Harmony and Discord on Digital Medicine

Disclosures

September 22, 2014

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This is Eric Topol, Medscape Editor-in-Chief. I am thrilled to tell you about a new survey that was conducted by both WebMD and Medscape. It is a unique, unparalleled, and contemporary window into what consumers and clinicians are thinking with respect to digital technology in medicine. More than 2000 providers and patients responded to a survey with the same questions going to both groups.

There were marked differences in many of the answers between doctors and patients. As you might expect, this turned out to be the case for questions such as "Who owns medical records?" The patients think they do, and the doctors think the doctors do. When it comes to do-it-yourself digital medical technology that is smartphone-enabled, you can imagine that patients were much more eager to use this technology than doctors were for them to use it.

However, it was particularly interesting that privacy and security were equally paramount to both groups when it comes to the use of new technology in healthcare.

But the issue that was surprising to me was the disconnect on radiation exposure from imaging. Doctors were more concerned about that than were patients, which I think speaks to an issue of awareness that radiation exposure from medical imaging [is a legitimate concern]. There is a lot more to this survey. It is the first of its kind to have both consumers and clinicians responding in large numbers to the same questions as we go forward in medicine. And we are interested in your views about these survey results.

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