Public attitudes towards the use of novel technologies in their future healthcare: a UK survey

Sarah Sauchelli, Tim Pickles, Alexandra Voinescu, Heungjae Choi, Ben Sherlock, Jingjing Zhang, Steffi Colyer, Sabrina Grant, Sethu Sundari, Gemma Lasseter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Background: Innovation in healthcare technologies can result in more convenient and effective treatment that is less costly, but a persistent challenge to widespread adoption in health and social care is end user acceptability. The purpose of this study was to capture UK public opinions and attitudes to novel healthcare technologies (NHTs), and to better understand the factors that contribute to acceptance and future use. Methods: An online survey was distributed to the UK public between April and May 2020. Respondents received brief information about four novel healthcare technologies (NHTs) in development: a laser-based tool for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis, a virtual reality tool to support diabetes self-management, a non-invasive continuous glucose monitor using microwave signals, a mobile app for patient reported monitoring of rheumatoid arthritis. They were queried on their general familiarity and attitudes to technology, and their willingness to accept each NHT in their future care. Responses were analysed using summary statistics and content analysis. Results: Knowledge about NHTs was diverse, with respondents being more aware about the health applications of mobile apps (66%), followed by laser-based technology (63.8%), microwave signalling (28%), and virtual reality (18.3%). Increasing age and the presence of a self-reported medical condition favoured acceptability for some NHTs, whereas self-reported understanding of how the NHT works resulted in elevated acceptance scores across all NHTs presented. Common contributors to hesitancy were safety and risks from use. Respondents wanted more information and evidence to help inform their decisions, ideally provided verbally by a general practitioner or health professional. Other concerns, such as privacy, were NHT-specific but equally important in decision-making. Conclusions: Early insight into the knowledge and preconceptions of the public about NHTs in development can assist their design and prospectively mitigate obstacles to acceptance and adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the GW4 Crucible Seed Funding Award (Ref. no: Cru19_2). Sarah Sauchelli is supported by the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre at University Hospitals of Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol. Tim Pickles is supported by a NIHR Doctoral Fellowship, funded by the Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales (c). Heungjae Choi was a Sr Cymru II Fellowship part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government (No. TG/KJB/VSM:1103515) and was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under Grant GaN-DaME (EP/P00945X/1) during the duration of the project. Gemma Lasseter acknowledges support from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, or Public Health England.

Funding Information:
We thank the NIHR Bristol BRC Diabetes Patient and Public Involvement Group for their contribution to the design of the survey.

Availability of data and materials
The datasets used and analysed during the current study are available from
the corresponding author on reasonable request

Keywords

  • Acceptability
  • Attitudes
  • Laser
  • Microwave signals
  • Mobile application
  • Novel healthcare technologies
  • Survey
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications

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