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How Healthcare Providers can Attract and Engage the Aging Population through Digital Channels
With millions of people turning 65 in the UK over the next two decades, the ageing population cannot be ignored. What many do not know is just how digitally savvy the nation’s elderly patients are, or how important it is becoming to use eHealth to attract and engage them.
Digitally savvy in their everyday lives, the elderly are also going digital when it comes to healthcare. For one, many are searching online for health information—silver surfers are riding the eHealth wave. It is no longer a question of if. It is a question of how, and when.
The digital revolution is not just for the young. According to the Office for National Statistics, Internet use more than tripled among those 65 years and older and nearly doubled among 55 to 64 year olds between 2006 and 2013.
Digital is clearly becoming part of the fabric of the elderly’s lives. Forty-four percent of elderly Americans are using the Internet to send and receive emails, and 41 percent are using it to find information about goods and services. More than a tenth (11 percent) are active on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.
The elderly want to do more than access general healthcare information online. They want online access to their personal health information, and many want to research and evaluate health insurance options, accessing their information once enrolled.
The 2013 Accenture Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement polled more than 9,000 adults in nine countries, including about 200 patients of 65 and older in England and revealed that:
Most (60 percent) respondents 65 and older say that accessing their medical information online is very or somewhat important.
72 percent of elderly consumers in England think that they should have full access to their electronic health records - however, only 7 percent actually do today. eHealth options are also influencing how seniors want to connect with their healthcare team. Sixty-eight percent of seniors say it is somewhat or very important to request prescription refills electronically, and nearly half (46 percent) can do so today.
The digital divide between older and younger segments of the population is disappearing. Not only are today’s older consumers digitally savvy, 55 to 64 year olds aging into the elderly population have even higher digital use rates, and are poised to drive adoption as they age.
To serve the aging population—today and into tomorrow—healthcare providers must pursue digital channels to influence buying behaviour, engagement and satisfaction.
July 8, 2014
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