Age Risks: Germans trust telemedicine

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  • Deutsche Telekom's 2015 Security Report spotlights connected solutions
  • Personal benefits are a deciding factor
  • Little concern about abuse of personal data

Concern about the need for long-term care in old age is high among the German population. Many people therefore welcome solutions and products that allow patients, doctors, hospitals and insurance providers to share information quickly and efficiently. These insights are among the findings of the 2015 Security Report, which was conducted on behalf of Deutsche Telekom by the Allensbach Institute and the Centrum für Strategie und Höhere Führung (Centre for Strategy and Higher Leadership).

This is the fifth consecutive year in which Deutsche Telekom has published its Security Report. The topic of long-term care in old age tops the list of major concerns and life risks among survey respondents (2015: 48 percent, 2014: 49 percent), followed closely by life-threatening diseases (41 percent). By comparison, only 5 percent of those surveyed ranked the failure of the power system as a high risk. The pollsters also asked about the assessment of solutions and products that result from an increasingly integrated and faster exchange of information in different areas of life and work (e.g. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things). Examples included, for instance, package tracking via the Internet, heating temperature control via smartphone, connected cars, the transmission of vital data to the doctor (telemedicine) or fall sensors in clothing for the elderly.

The survey underscored that approval rates will always be high if the respondents can identify an immediate personal benefit. As a result, respondents age 60 and older expressed above average interest in telemedicine. This includes, for instance, the automatic measurement and transmission of vital data as well as sensors in clothing, which can trigger an emergency call in the event of a fall. 57 percent of those age 60 and older stated that they could make good use of the former, 44 percent are intrigued by sensors in clothing. In the 16 to 29-year-old age group, the interest in the potential of 3D printers was much higher. 42 percent of respondents explained that they could use these printers to make jewelry, toys or dinnerware.

Weighing the pros and cons
The interest in certain applications is, according to pollsters, if nothing else the result of weighing the pros and cons of the respective technology. The example of vital data shows that those who express an interest focus on the benefits. 76 percent want their doctor to be informed, for instance, if blood pressure or heart rate reaches a critical level; 54 percent want their doctor "to always have important information." Those with fear of abuse or basic reservations make up a small minority (21 percent).

The Allensbach Institute conducted almost 1,400 surveys for the 2015 Security Report from the start of the year to mid-June, using a representative cross-section of the population age 16 and older.

The full report is available in German only, please see here.

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 151 million mobile customers, 30 million fixed-network lines and more than 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2014). The Group provides fixed network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has approximately 228,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 62.7 billion in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.