Most people see tech innovation as the key to better health

And they believe hospitals will someday be obsolete, survey shows

A survey conducted across eight countries found more than 70% of respondents would be comfortable using toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors or swallowed health monitors to collect personal health data. The survey, conducted by market research firm Penn Schoen Berland and sponsored by Intel, also showed that most people believe tech innovation holds the best promise for curing fatal diseases -- more than increasing the number of doctors or additional money for research.

Respondents also said they'd be comfortable attending checkups remotely through the use of teleconferencing. In fact, 72% like the idea of communication technologies that allow them to remotely connect to their doctor.

A majority was also comfortable using technology on themselves at home instead of going to a doctor.

For example, 53% said they would trust a test they personally administered as much or more than if performed by a doctor. Almost half of respondents (43%) said they trust themselves to monitor their own blood pressure and other basic vitals. And about 30% said they could also perform their own ultrasound.

More than half of those surveyed (57%) believe hospitals will eventually become obsolete because care could take place inside their home and more than 80% said they would share information anonymously to reduce healthcare costs and improve treatment.

Dr. Andrew Litt, former chief of staff of New York University's Langone Medical Center, noted in a recent Computerworld blog that through remote monitoring equipment, a primary care physician could log into a patient's cloud-based online medical record and review daily blood glucose, blood pressure readings and body weight -- all of it uploaded from a patient's Wi-Fi-equipped home monitors.

That scenario appealed to those surveyed. For example, 66% indicated they want a personalized healthcare regimen designed specifically for them based on their genetic profile or biology.

"Most people appear to embrace a future of healthcare 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.

The survey, which included 12,000 adults (18 years or older) was conducted online in Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States from July 28 to Aug. 15, 2013.

Intel said it revealed that most people want personalized care based on their own behaviors and biology that provides the freedom to get healthcare wherever and whenever it's convenient.

The cost to sequence an entire human genome has plummeted from $100 million in 2001 to $3,000 to $4,000 today. Researchers are hoping the cost will hit $100 within the next few years.

Because of the genomic advancements, clinicians can use genetic markers to predict how patients will react to drug therapy. Medical researchers are marching quickly toward identifying more and more genetic mutations that cause disease so they can create drug therapies to attack them.

"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."

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

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