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Doctors ‘distrust apps developed by pharma’ - survey

Published on 31/07/15 at 07:37am
healthcare tech
Flickr/NEC

A study of GPs in three European countries show GPs feel there is a role for healthcare technologies in disease management - but distrust many of pharma’s efforts to create these technologies. 

The survey of 131 GPs in the UK, Germany and France, by pollsters Ipsos Mori tracked trends in healthcare tech, whilst identifying concerns over their use.

As many as 40% say they do not trust apps developed by pharma companies, and feel those developed by tech companies are more reliable. 

The results show GPs are wary of new health technologies, but see a role for healthcare apps in the treatment of patients with specific conditions. Some 72% of GPs have already used or recommended at least one form of digital health technology, and 25% envisages them being used for monitoring chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

While attitudes are more positive than negative on the whole, the study identifies reliability as a key barrier for many PCPs. Some 15% of GPs say they do not think apps and wearable tech are a reliable way of monitoring health and 27% say they  fear that patients could misinterpret the data - creating conflict between doctors and patients.

GPs in all three countries are more likely to distrust apps developed by pharma companies (40%), compared to those developed by tech companies (24%). And the findings highlight differences between the attitudes of GPs in the three countries. German GPs are more wary of apps developed by pharma companies, with 48% saying they don’t trust them, compared to 36% of UK PCPs.

Ipsos MORI, which ran the Digital Doctor survey, says the results offer an opportunity for pharma companies to shape the digital health revolution.

Gareth Phillips, managing director of Ipsos Healthcare Western Europe, says: “It’s too early to say where the ‘sweet spot’ for healthcare apps and wearable tech will be. As we see developments such as pharma companies investing in tech start-ups to drive new innovations, Digital Doctor will allow us to monitor take-up and attitudes among primary care physicians in this emerging market.

“These findings show physicians definitely do see a role for apps and wearable tech, but only if they complement face-to-face treatment, rather than replace it.  But the clear message is that any new apps or devices will need to integrate with existing systems, and genuinely simplify and improve current practices.”

Yasmita Kumar

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