Have people in France suddenly begun to trust in the new technologies and are eager for change? When it comes to healthcare, this would seem to be the case… A March 2018 study called “360° Health Barometer” by the firm Odoxa showed that more than two-thirds of people in France feel that the development of eHealth using digital tools is a source of hope rather than fear. At a time when the public authorities are forever seeking solutions to make the healthcare system more efficient, such enthusiasm could well encourage them to advance towards medicine 2.0.

For people in France, treatment quality rhymes with new technologies

For a large majority of people in France, the use of digital techniques and services linked to the new technologies are powerful levers driving satisfaction with hospitals. Those who think their healthcare facility is “in advance” on questions relating to new technologies are also those who have a better opinion of their contact with hospitals.   All in all, technology now inspires confidence. 81% of people surveyed do indeed think that the development of digital tools will lead to better treatment quality in the country. Quite logically, those tools that will bring about an improvement in the management and organisation of treatment are warmly welcomed: making appointments online, hospital pre-admission procedures, help for patients in following their treatment, exchange of messages by SMS, etc.

Practises are changing

People in France are also particularly enthusiastic about potential uses of their own healthcare data. 77% said they are in favour of caregivers (i.e. all caregivers) being able to click and access their healthcare data. Just as many wish that follow-up after a stay in hospital could be done using connected devices. On the specific question of monitoring chronic or long-term illnesses, 80% of respondents said they were ready to use connected devices or digital services to exchange medical data. This is a much higher figure than the estimate made by doctors regarding their patients. In the study, doctors estimate that 38% of people in France would be ready for such changes. It seems that patient fears and reticence is largely overestimated by doctors. Now that telemedicine is to be deployed, as of 15 September, only the future will tell whether people’s acceptance of the new technologies, for the moment virtual, will resist the actual implementation of such changes in their relations with the medical world.

Damien Vieillard-Baron