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Learn how healthcare provider organizations can attract and engage the senior population through telehealth channels.
With thousands of people turning 65 daily in the United States over the next two decades, providers know they cannot ignore the aging population. What few are starting to discover is just how digitally savvy the nation’s seniors are—or how important using ehealth to attract and engage them is becoming.
Digitally savvy in their everyday lives, seniors are also going digital when it comes to healthcare. For one, many are searching for health information online. This is the only area where seniors’ Internet use surpasses that of 18 to 29 year olds.1 Silver surfers are riding the ehealth wave. Providers must do the same. It is no longer a question of if. It is a question of how—and when.
Download the PDF to learn statistics providers should know about seniors and ehealth. [PDF, 2.4MB]
1 Pew Internet & American Life Project, Older Adults and Internet Use, Kathryn Zickuhr, Mary Madden, June 6, 2012, accessed 10/7/13, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012
The digital revolution is not just for the young. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, Internet use rates tripled among seniors (65 and over) and doubled among 50 to 64 year olds between 2000 and 2012. The greatest growth in Internet use among all age groups during this period was among seniors 65 and over, ushering in the era of the silver surfer.2
Digital is clearly becoming part of the fabric of seniors’ lives. Accenture Health research reports that Medicare consumers are frequently (at least once daily) online. Ninety-one percent are using email frequently and 73 percent frequently search the Internet. Nearly one-third frequently log in to Facebook or other social media sites.
2 Pew Internet & American Life Project, Older Adults and Internet Use, Kathryn Zickuhr, Mary Madden, June 6, 2012, accessed 10/7/13, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012
The 2013 Accenture Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement also reveals that seniors want to use digital channels to interact with providers in several areas including the following:
Booking appointments. A majority (62 percent) of seniors believe it is somewhat or very important to be able to book appointments online.
Emailing providers. More than half (53 percent) say it is important or very important to email with providers.
Requesting prescriptions. Most (68 percent) seniors say it is somewhat or very important to request prescription refills electronically.
This is all good news for providers. Health systems and physicians investing to meet Stage 2 and 3 meaningful use criteria for electronic health records (EHR) can be confident that patient-focused features will provide value across generations. In fact, many EHR systems support the interactions and transactions seniors say they want.
The message to providers is that seniors are not technophobes—and that digital tools and ehealth options should be a part of a holistic approach to care. To serve the aging population, digital channels are key to influencing consumer buying behavior as well as patient engagement and satisfaction:
Buying behavior. Digital is non-negotiable when it comes to customer preference and differentiation among providers. The lack of ehealth options may even lead some seniors to choose alternate physicians and hospitals.
Engagement. As providers take on more risk for healthcare utilization, online services, digital self-care tools and virtual care management can fully engage patients in health and illness management while reducing medical costs.
Satisfaction. Digital can provide convenience and choice to create simplified, accessible and customized customer experiences.
July 30, 2014
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