Intel survey: Patients ready to embrace personalized medicine

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Personalized medicine is on the horizon, and patients are not only awaiting it optimistically, but they also are willing to share a bit of personal information when it comes, according to a new study released Monday commissioned by Intel. 

"Most people appear to embrace a future of health care that allows them to get care outside hospital walls, lets them anonymously share their information for better outcomes and personalizes care all the way down to an individual's specific genetic makeup," said Eric Dishman, Intel fellow and general manager of the company's Health and Life Sciences Group. Intel's research revealed that what people want most at the intersection of health care and technology is more personalized care based on their own behaviors and biology that provides the freedom to get health care wherever and whenever it's convenient for them.

More than 70% of respondents are receptive to using toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors or swallowed monitors to collect ongoing and actionable personal health data, according to the survey — the "Intel Healthcare Innovation Barometer" that was conducted across eight countries by Penn Schoen Berland. As many as 66% of people would prefer a personalized healthcare regimen designed specifically for them based on their genetic profile or biology. And 53% of those surveyed said they would trust a test they personally administered as much or more than if it came from a doctor.

"Technologies such as high-performance computing and big data analytics have the power to change the face of health in this world, and most people seem to desire that," Dishman said. "When given a choice between getting the same care as others who have their symptoms or getting care based on their own genetic profile, two-in-three respondents choose customized care."

People also indicated willingness to share their information to advance the field of medicine and lower costs for all. The survey revealed an overwhelming majority of people (84%) globally would anonymously share their personal health information, such as lab results, if it could lower medication costs or overall cost to the healthcare system. 

"Improving health care is a team effort, including patients and their families," Dishman added. "Intel's research shows when people see benefits for them and their wider community, they are open to sharing sensitive information in anonymous ways."

In fact, a higher percentage of people said they are more willing to share their health records (47%) than their phone records (38%) or banking information (30%) to aid innovation. 

As many as 57% of people believe traditional hospitals will be obsolete in the future. Technology innovation holds the promise of unburdening people from having to see a healthcare provider in person for many aspects of their healthcare management, liberating people from the conventional restraints of time and location.

"Care must occur at home as the default model, not in a hospital or clinic," Dishman said. "New technologies can bring decision support, health monitoring and health coaches into the home. It was also interesting to see that people in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India trusted themselves to use health monitoring technologies more than those in more technologically advanced economies such as Japan and the United States." 

Seventy-two percent of those surveyed are willing to see a doctor via video conference for non-urgent appointments. As remote healthcare technology and self-monitoring tools improve, people may embrace technologies that will allow them to connect with their caregivers in new ways, such as sensor technology that transmits health data in real time. Today's technologies, such as social networks and video conferencing, can help people embrace new behaviors.

The survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland on behalf of Intel in Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States from July 28 to Aug. 15. It was conducted among a representative sample of 12,000 adults ages 18 years and older.

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