Patients want convenient online applications to organise their healthcare. They can see the advantages of searching for information about health and healthcare on the internet. They also want to request prescriptions via the internet, make an appointment with their doctor, or send their healthcare provider a question by e-mail. They feel this is easy and saves time. One third of healthcare users finds it handy to have access to their own health records online. Dutch healthcare providers are working hard on eHealth. Among other things, in the coming year doctors will be working on health information exchange and the possibility of making appointments online.
This was evident from the eHealth monitor 2015, which was published today. The survey, conducted by Nictiz and the NIVEL, was submitted to Minister Schippers today during the Mobile Healthcare conference.
A brief overview of some of the results
It appears that maintaining your own health data online is increasing in popularity, although not yet among large groups. The survey does show that nearly one fifth of the Dutch population records their physical activity with something like a step counter or an app on their phone. More than one third of the GPs, over half of the medical specialists and two thirds of the psychiatrists indicated that an eHealth pilot had been conducted in their practice or healthcare institute in the past year.The most striking fact is that in more than 70% of cases the use of eHealth was continued after the trial period. Among nurses the use of the internet and apps for things like looking up information or showing information to patients increased. In particular, the use of video calling and medicine dispensers increased among nurses in the care sector. This usage was nearly doubled.
Challenges and differences of opinion
Although patients are very interested in online possibilities, as was the case in previous years they are not yet very aware of the options that are already being offered by their own GP and hospital. More information about what the GP provides can give patients more insight into these options. For doctors there are also challenges when it comes to using eHealth in their work. For example, it is still difficult to exchange health records outside their own practice or healthcare institute. The technical link between an online service and the IT system in the practice is often difficult to establish as well. Furthermore, according to doctors there is not enough financial compensation for the time needed to develop eHealth services. Doctors have differing opinions about the question whether patients should be given electronic access to their health records. Approximately two out of five GPs and medical specialists consider this desirable and nearly half of GPs and medical specialists finds it undesirable. The eHealth monitor 2015 provides insight into the arguments doctors use to either give or not give patients online access to their health records.
“eHealth is a current topic in the healthcare sector. Not only do people talk about it, the sector is actively working on it as well. A lot is being done to (permanently) resolve problems with eHealth, although it is noticeable that some of the obstacles are very persistent. For example, we are seeing once again how difficult it is to bring medication overviews up-to-date - we saw this in 2014 as well.” - Dr. Lies van Gennip, Director of Nictiz.
“eHealth only works if everyone involved can really see the benefits. The eHealth monitor shows that currently this mainly applies to the basics: arranging an appointment with your GP via the internet, requesting a repeat prescription and having access to your medication record. This week I requested a repeat prescription via the internet, convenient! For many doctors and patients, these basics will be the initial introduction to eHealth. These basics therefore have a dual meaning: a convenient application, but also an introduction to the other eHealth applications.” - Prof. Dr. ir. Roland Friele, Deputy Director of the NIVEL.
About the eHealth monitor
The eHealth monitor, a survey conducted by Nictiz and the NIVEL at the initiative of Minister Schippers (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS)), provides insight into the development and use of eHealth in the Netherlands for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015. The part of the survey that was conducted among healthcare users is representative of the Dutch population aged 18 and older. This year the survey was divided into seven themes: the potential added value of eHealth, convenience and service for healthcare users, self-management and online treatment, care and support at home, making medical data accessible to the patient, record maintenance for healthcare providers and exchange of information between healthcare providers. The survey and the results are outlined in an English infographic.