EY survey shows Irish people’s willingness to engage more with technology for enhanced, personalised healthcare experience
Irish consumers open to genetic testing, personalised medicines, and virtual care
- 72% in favour of automatic electronic sharing of their personal medical information within the healthcare system
- 71% prepared to take genetic testing to assess predisposition to certain diseases or disorders, 70% willing to share data from a wearable device with their doctor, and 64% would take medicine personalised to their genetic profile
- 64% of the respondents agree that digital technologies will be used to monitor patients at home in the next 10 years
- 48% are open to having a health condition treated with smart pill and 70% are open to wearables or other tech-enabled products
Dublin, 14 September 2023: The Irish public are ready to embrace digital health technologies and digitally-enabled pathways of care, including a willingness to share their health data to improve health outcomes and access to care, according to EY Ireland’s Consumer Health Survey 2023. The findings from EY’s latest research offers a real opportunity for policymakers to build future-focused, digital-first models of care, reimagining how healthcare is delivered in Ireland. If appropriately resourced and utilised, hybrid and virtual technologies have the potential to increase access to care, foster early detection and intervention, and help patients avoid hospital admission.
The survey of 1,016 Irish consumers finds a strong willingness among the vast majority of people to adopt technology-enabled health services to monitor or improve their overall health. In fact, of those surveyed, 71 per cent indicated they would be prepared to take a genetic test to assess their predisposition to certain diseases or disorders. A further 70 per cent said they would be open to using wearable devices to collect their health data, with 64 per cent saying they would agree to take medications based on genetic profiling. 64 per cent also agree that digital technologies will be used to monitor patients at home in the next 10 years. Most of those surveyed are responsive to sharing biometric (78%), lifestyle (75%) and genetic (67%) data with the healthcare professionals managing their care in order to improve overall health outcomes.
The survey findings underscore the opportunity for digital transformation to not only reshape the patient experience and patient outcomes, but to also improve overall engagement with the health system in Ireland. This technology adoption would also undoubtedly go some way to support the ongoing work to address greater access to care, maximise efficiencies and enhance cost effectiveness.
“The results of EY Ireland’s research demonstrate that people in Ireland are open to engaging differently with healthcare and see technology-enabled care as a way to increase access and improve their care experience. There is a willingness to engage with genetic testing, personalised medicines, hybrid and virtual care. As Ireland’s population simultaneously grows and ages, digital health technologies and digitally-enabled pathways of care can transform healthcare,” said Dr. Ronan Glynn, Partner and Health Sector Lead at EY Ireland. “Digital transformation, driven by data, can reshape public and patient experience and engagement with the health system, improve workforce retention and recruitment, transform our approach to population health and keep people well in their communities, and ultimately, deliver more accessible, better integrated, more cost-effective and sustainable, person-centred care.
These findings show that the Irish public are taking personal responsibility for their health and want a health service that is focused on proactive engagement, rather than just reactive care. People want to be provided with tools to keep themselves well and avoid requiring expensive care. This represents an opportunity for the health service to co-create a healthier Ireland with the public. We can improve our population’s health by placing a sustained focus on prevention and early intervention, by viewing the public’s health as a national asset and as fundamental to a healthy economy.”
“Ireland’s population has grown by over 10% in the last 10 years and we have one of the fastest ageing populations in Europe. With people living longer, often with multiple chronic diseases, it needs to be a function of the health service into the future that staying well is an easier course of action for people than waiting until they become acutely unwell before engaging with the system,” said Niamh O'Beirne, Partner, Head of Business and People Consulting at EY Ireland.
Interestingly, the report identifies that older people (those who have retired) have shown a particular willingness to embrace new technologies above the total population average, with 81 per cent saying they would undergo genetic tests to assess predisposition to certain diseases or disorders; a further 80 per cent indicating they would allow a wearable device to collect and transmit their health data; and 75 per cent claiming they are amenable to being treated in non-traditional settings, including virtually, at home or in retail settings.
“In delivering digital-first models of care, however, we must recognise that access to digital technologies as well as digital skills and levels of engagement with those technologies will vary across the population and care will be needed to avoid creating a digital health divide,” said Dr. Ronan Glynn, Partner and Health Sector Lead at EY Ireland.
“Ultimately, our survey findings demonstrate that there is a real opportunity to build digitally-enabled, future focussed care to accelerate the delivery of world-class, patient-first healthcare in Ireland. Our report makes a number of recommendations, placing data at the core in order to maximise the opportunity that now presents, namely: viewing data as a core asset; creating a digitally enabled workforce; fostering digital inclusion; safeguarding trust with sound cybersecurity; prioritising patient and clinician experience; adapting a ‘whole health system’ mindset; building partnership and collaboration across the health ecosystem and ensuring a systematic approach to evaluation. Working in harmony, these recommendations can harness the potential to transform our approach to population health and keep people well in their communities.”
For more key insights about EY Ireland Consumer Health Survey 2023, click here.
Notes to Editor
About EY Ireland Consumer Health Survey 2023
For the EY Ireland Consumer Health Survey 2023, EYGM Limited commissioned EY Sweeney to undertake quantitative research among 1,016 consumers in Ireland. The survey was conducted between 12 January and 10 March 2023 with a focus on understanding evolving consumer sentiments, behaviours, and expectations in relation to the health service. Quotas were set by age, gender and regions to ensure the sample was representative of the population. The survey data was weighted by age, gender and region to be representative of the population aged 18 and over.
This was part of a larger country study of 6,021 respondents from the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, and Germany with approximately 1,000 respondents per country.
A roadmap for digital transformation in healthcare – 8 Recommendations
Digital transformation can reshape public and patient experience and engagement with the health system, improve workforce retention and recruitment, transform our approach to population health and keep people well in their communities, and ultimately, deliver more accessible, better integrated, more cost-effective and sustainable, person-centred care. The following steps need to be taken to achieve these goals:
1. View data as a core asset: View data as a core asset of the health system and reimagine the health information infrastructure to allow for innovation and data fluidity. This infrastructure should support individuals to take control of their health data, facilitate data-led service planning and research, and improve care at the point of delivery. It should also ensure sufficient flexibility to benefit from emerging technologies such as AI.
2. Create a digitally enabled workforce: There’s a need to recognise that successful digital transformation of health services can only be achieved if the workforce is appropriately trained in the use of new technologies, is engaged and motivated. Provide digital training and flexible learning opportunities for all in the healthcare workforce to upskill. Ensure that digital health is a core component of health and social care curricula. Give timely consideration to the requirement for new professional roles such as clinical data scientists when engaging in future workforce planning.
3. Foster digital inclusion: This can be done by continuing to build towards meeting the Government commitment to increase the share of adults with at least basic digital skills to 80% by 2030.
4. Safeguard trust: Safeguard trust by continuing to embed sound cybersecurity practices and measures to protect individuals’ health data as well as their right to privacy.
5. Prioritise patient and clinician experience: Prioritise patient and clinician experience when designing and implementing hybrid, virtual and digital-first models of care. Ensure that design and implementation of new technologies are coproduced with the communities they are intended to serve.
6. Adopt a whole of health system mindset: Situate the digital transformation and investment required as a strategic change built around sustainable creation of value and as a critical enabler of Sláintecare.
7. Build partnerships: As disruptive technologies emerge, agile leadership will be required to see beyond organisational silos and take full advantage of the opportunities they present. At the heart of this needs to be a sustained commitment to collaboration with a focus on leveraging the talent, capital, scale and unique skills of all who can contribute to the ever-changing healthcare landscape in Ireland.
8. Ensure a systematic approach to evaluation: Ensure a systematic approach is brought to measure the effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and overall value that new technologies bring to the healthcare system. Embed processes to facilitate ongoing evaluation of the impact of these technologies to ensure return on investment.