In terms of general health, 32% in the UK said they had a ‘long-standing health condition’, while 73% of UK respondents said their health was good, 11% above the global average and fifth highest on the table. Unfortunately the forward outlook isn’t as rosy, with just 8% of respondents in the UK, the lowest of all 23 countries surveyed, saying they thought that the ‘quality of healthcare that you and your family will have access to locally will improve’ versus the 47% who expected quality of healthcare to get worse. This is a trend across the West with similar figures in our nearest neighbours, and is illustrative of what the report calls "the optimism divide" between Western democracies and the emerging markets.
So what does this all mean, and specifically, what does it mean to you? Well… that depends.
One trend that you might be able to relate to is the desire to want more control over health decisions; globally 77% of people agreed. Here in the UK, you might be surprised to read, it was just 68%. A glance across the 23 countries surveyed reveals a correlation between advanced healthcare systems and lower scores for this question. When the survey goes into specifics it is clear that wanting control is a priority for us in the UK. For example, an above average 72% (global average: 61%) said they always try to find out information on their healthcare themselves, rather than relying on what a doctor tells them.
While we want more control, we also have trust in the system and in the professionals who provide it. 69% of Britons rated the quality of available healthcare as good compared to the global average of 47%, giving us the 5th highest rated health system. A below average 66% (global average: 70%) said they would look for additional information on any medication they were prescribed, and 82% (global average: 86%) said they would seek a second opinion if they had doubts about their doctor’s diagnosis, making us the second most trusting nation behind Japan. Of course, what the report suggests is trust may just be a symptom of confusion as just 65% said they know they can find the right information to make the right decisions and choices about their health, which although average, will be disappointing to many reading this.
One quote that jumped out at me was that “the volume of health data is projected to balloon to 2.3 Exabyte’s (2.3 billion gigabytes) by 2020 – growing 48% per year and outpacing the growth of big data overall.”
Where will all this data come from? From your personal health device of course. Currently only 11% of UK respondents use a personal health device, and 7% formerly have. Respondents were asked how likely they were to use a personal health device if they were recommended to use one by a range of sources. In the UK, 54% versus 29% would if their pharmacist recommended; 73% versus 13% would if their doctor recommended; 42% versus 32% if their insurance company recommended; 37% versus 40% if a friend or family member recommended; and 64% versus 19% (second highest globally) if a nurse recommended.
The report focuses on eight main themes, one of which is a healthier world, but it is difficult to take even the health data in isolation. We live in a connected and complex world where healthcare is inevitably tied to endless other factors. Although it’s difficult to comprehend, this IPSOS report will give you a digestible comparative snapshot of where we are now and where we are likely to go.