By BECKY RAMPHAL
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) commissioned Lpsos to conduct a survey in May to reveal Canadian’s perceptions on the current direction of the Canadian healthcare system and their level of acceptance to technology being integrated more rapidly into their healthcare. Its findings suggest a more technological-based approach should be implemented to reduce the generation gap with patients’ wants and needs.
On average, the report shows those within the Google Generation (people between the age of 18 and 34) are visiting doctor’s offices more frequently – up to 11 times per year – and are more eager to embrace new technology to assist in monitoring their personal health.
Utilizing wearable monitoring systems such as Fitbits and other smartwatches, as well as phone apps to track heart rate, blood pressure, diet and sleep habits have created a more informed patient pool. CMA urges the implementation of new policies, and encourages the system to embrace technological enhancements quickly due to the large impact this generation is having on present and future healthcare.
CMA President, Laurent Marcoux, Ph.D., said “Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual monitoring provide an opportunity to address the health needs of the Google Generation as they embrace technology in all facets of their lives.
“The way this generation manages and tracks their health is much different than any other demographic group,” Marcoux said. “To ensure we are ready to tackle this new wave of tech savvy patients; we need to have the right policies as well as action plans to [futurize] our healthcare ecosystem.”
Implementing virtual doctor visits, and the use of AI are tactics the Google Generation believes could help lead to more timely care, convenience and overall quality of care. However, 6 in 10 Canadians are excited about the incorporation of this new technology, but would only trust a diagnosis if delivered by a physician.
There are issues with privacy and ethics that 7 out of 10 Canadians believe haven’t been fully thought out in regards to AI usage in healthcare, and 67 percent are worried about losing the human touch factor.
Nevertheless, the implementation of technology within the Canadian healthcare system is necessary in order to match the demand of the evolving generations.
“We need to look at this information as a warning sign,” Marcoux said. “Every generation presents a new challenge to our healthcare system, but with the Google Generation, healthcare is about convenience and timeliness, and the current system does not provide for that.”