A new research entitled “Digital Frontiers – The Heightened Customer Battleground” commissioned by VMware to explore the links between technological innovation, people and society and conducted on more than 6,000 consumers in 5 countries found that almost half of Italian consumers (45% ) feels comfortable – or even enthusiastic – in replacing routine medical consultations with remote virtual appointments (44% at European level).

And this doesn’t just affect the younger generation: the 45-54 year olds were among the most enthusiastic about the idea of ​​a new virtual world of healthcare.

83% of Italians identify themselves as “digitally curious” or “digital explorer” – an audience ready and receptive to new digital services, with a growing confidence in the power of technology to have a positive effect on people’s health and well-being . 61% of consumers, for example, are happy with the idea that family members with a chronic / long-term illness can have the freedom to live further away from medical facilities, thanks to sensors and monitoring of data in time. real who predict when they will need medical assistance. Or, 73% think that digital technologies will have the potential to reduce the spread of Covid-19, 57% are confident that the technology can significantly lower the risk of invasive surgery within the next five years, and 61% believe that can significantly improve the quality of life of vulnerable people, such as the elderly or the disabled.

Is the wind changing? Over the past year, we’ve seen the biggest digital acceleration the healthcare industry has ever known. A revolution, forced by the pandemic, in consumer attitudes towards the adoption of digital health care and in how the market must respond. Like never before, we need to keep up with the pace of this ‘cultural revolution’.

Let’s take the UK as an example; prior to the virus, video appointments made up just 1% of the 340 million annual visits with British NHS doctors and nurses. But, as the outbreak accelerated, when the NHS encouraged all 7,000 UK doctors’ offices to cut face-to-face appointments, we saw physical visits drop 57% from the year before, while platforms of online doctors like Push Doctor have seen a 70% increase in consultations weekly.

Video consultation is a trend that is also growing in Italy, which is still lagging behind in this area: in 2019, according to data from the Digital Innovation in Health Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic, only 5% of specialist doctors and 3% of family doctors used telemedicine solutions, while last year three out of four specialists said it was decisive in the emergency phase. In September 2020, the State-Regions conference approved a document, prepared by the Health Commission, relating to the methods of managing remote outpatient services in which specific criteria and methods for implementing television in the chronic patient are defined.

The pandemic has forced many to overcome concerns related to the safety of virtual meetings with doctors. Now, we very easily accept the idea of ​​a 10-minute video call to discuss blood test results rather than going to a physical waiting room and sharing this confined space with other patients for an unknown amount of time.

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