Majority of Seniors Want Digital Tools to Manage Their Health

As the aging population booms, tech-savvy seniors are turning to technology for long-term solutions for managing their health and independence.

According to a new survey by Accenture, 57% of seniors are seeking tools to manage their health care remotely, however, only one-third of health care providers offer such capability. These results bolster support for real-time, web-based  health care management and monitoring system such as eCaring and other apps.

“As the digitally engaged senior patient population continues to grow, healthcare systems need to consider the role the Internet can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point,” said Jill Dailey, managing director of payer strategy, Accenture Health.

Other findings, summarized by HITConsultant.com, include:

  • 67 percent surveyed say that access to their health information is important, but only 28 percent currently have full access to their electronic health records
  • 70 percent say it is somewhat or very important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, however, fewer than half (46 percent) can do so today
  • 67 percent believe it is somewhat or very important to be able to book appointments online
  • 58 percent say it is important or very important to email their providers
  • 42 percent say the ability to see a doctor virtually without a co-pay is most important
  • 15 percent say a mobile app or online tool to schedule appointments electronically is most important

What do you think? What can be done to ensure health care providers make mHealth and digital health tools available to their patients?

 

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2 Responses to Majority of Seniors Want Digital Tools to Manage Their Health

  1. Wayne Caswell says:

    Melody, Be careful not to get caught up in the hype of market researchers and consulting firms like Accenture, since they too often cut off market segmentation at age 65+. Doing that lumps the huge baby boom generation into the “Seniors” category and allows them to make wildly misleading market projections about the use of technology.

    Who are the Real Seniors? Laurie Orlov from Aging in Place Technology Watch asks this important question in an article that is also posted on my own website (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2013/11/tech-adoption-by-real-seniors/).

    She suggests that Real Seniors should be viewed as age 75+ or 85+ instead. Even the US Government is using skewed market research from firms like PEW Internet to determine Medicare and Social Security policy, so instead of checks being sent in the mail, they’re now directly deposited. That’s fine, except realize that the vast majority of true seniors don’t have PCs, smartphones or tablets, don’t have Internet access, and don’t participate in e-banking or e-commerce. QVC yes; Amazon.com no.

    What this means for elder care is that technologists should direct most of their messaging toward the adult children of the Real Seniors, including me, and help them gently introduce their parents to the digital solutions. At age 65 and as a retired IBM technologist, I’m quite tech-savvy, and even my traditionally technophobic wife is now an avid iPhone, iPad & Internet user, but my mom and dad never used any of that and resisted technology until the day they died.

    • Melody Wilding says:

      Thanks for your point of view. There have been questions brought up about the Accenture report, so thanks for getting the conversation started.

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