Strong patient support for new medical technologies in doctor's surgery
3 November 2005
Rochester NY, USA. A new Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive
Health-Care Poll shows that while only a minority of U.S. adults have
experience with new medical technologies such as electronic medical records
and digital imaging equipment in their doctor's office, vast majorities are
in favour of having their doctors adopt new technologies in their practices.
Furthermore, a large number of adults believe new medical technologies will
either reduce the costs of medical care or are worth the investment because
they will improve the quality of care.
The online survey involved 2,048 U.S. adults and was conducted by Harris
Interactive(R) between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4, 2005 for The Wall Street Journal
Online's Health Industry Edition.
Experience with new medical technologies
Relatively small numbers of U.S. adults report that their doctor has ever
used some new technologies for them or a member of their family during a
doctor visit or to provide or discuss follow-up treatment. Specifically:
- Sixteen percent (16%) report that their doctor has used an
electronic medical record to capture their medical information.
- Fourteen percent (14%) say their doctor has used a personal digital
device like a Palm Pilot or a hand-held computer to record their
- Eight percent (8%) report that their doctor has used e-mail to
communicate directly with them or their family members, while an equal
percentage reports that their doctor has used digital imaging equipment
that allows the doctor to send pictures or other images via e-mail (8%).
- Only five percent (5%) have experience with a home monitoring device
that allowed them to send medical information — like blood pressure
readings or blood tests — to their doctor's office via the telephone or
Support for the adoption of new medical technologies
Despite limited personal experience with these new medical technologies,
at least three-quarters of adults strongly or somewhat favor having their
doctor(s) use these types of new technologies when caring for them or their
family members. Adults most strongly favor the use of home monitoring
devices (83% strongly or somewhat favor), followed closely by e-mail for
doctors and patients to communicate directly (81%), electronic medical
records (78%), digital imaging equipment (78%) and personal digital devices
to record information (75%).
Considerable support also exists for new technology being developed that
uses internal imaging to capture characteristics of a human's internal
anatomy, such as veins in the palm of the hand, to confirm identity. About
seven in 10 (71%) adults would strongly or somewhat favor using this type of
technology to help protect patients' medical records (i.e., to restrict
release or use of medical records without such verification).
The value of new medical technologies
The majority of adults do believe these new medical technologies provide
value; nearly one-third (31%) believes new technologies such as electronic
medical records and digital imaging devices are worth the money they cost
because they will improve patient care, and 36% believe these new
technologies will ultimately reduce the costs of medical care. Only one in
10 (10%) believes these new technologies cost more money than they are worth
and a further 23% are not sure.
About the Survey
The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll is an
exclusive poll that is published in the Health Industry Edition of The Wall
Street Journal Online at