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Mature technology

How silver surfers are riding the wave of eHealth

​Australians today are living longer, and the population is getting older. This puts complex pressures on the healthcare system—from an increase in chronic conditions, to growing demand for services that keep people healthier longer.

It’s why strategies and interventions to reduce costs and improve health outcomes need to target seniors’ health management behaviours.

Senior citizens are health literate and committed to self-management of chronic disease. This is evidenced by the strong correlation between cardiovascular disease and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol in older populations. Our research backs up this willingness for older Australians to take a lead in their own care, and highlights an important role for consumer-focused digital technologies in the future of aged care.

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An aging population



Nearly 4 million people—16 percent of the country’s population—are 65 and over. By 2054, there will be 8.4 million Australians 65 and older—21 percent of the population - Australian Bureau of Statistics

Active in health

Australians 65 and over are engaged in managing their health. A strong majority (89 percent) actively manage their health. Just 1 percent, less than in previous years, do nothing at all to manage their health. The aged have a range of indicators that they track to prioritise and manage their health concerns. The majority monitored their weight (71 percent), blood pressure (64 percent), dietary intake (58 percent) and cholesterol (52 percent) over the past year. - Accenture 2016 Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement

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DIPPING INTO

DIGITAL HEALTH

A common myth is that the digital revolution is only for the young. The reality is that many aging Australians are “silver surfers,” and regularly use digital technology for health management.

Digital health tools empower them to engage with the healthcare system as informed consumers, at a stage of life when health and wellness is a primary concern. 57 percent believe technology is vital to managing their health, and 52 percent say this is because technology helps them understand their conditions and medications.

These trends show that health services could use digital channels—along with improvements in health literacy—to better engage with local aged populations.

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“57 percent believe technology is vital to managing their health...”

“...52 percent say this is because technology helps them understand their conditions and medications.”
Blood pressure

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THE TIDE IS TURNING

FOR DATA SHARING

Of course, senior citizens’ willingness to use consumer-level eHealth technologies also has important implications for management of healthcare data.

Of course, senior citizens’ willingness to use consumer-level eHealth technologies also has important implications for management of healthcare data.

Of course, senior citizens’ willingness to use consumer-level eHealth technologies also has important implications for management of healthcare data.

59 percent are willing to wear or already wear technology that tracks vital signs, and many think wearables help with understanding health conditions, health engagement, and overall quality of health.

42 percent of seniors would also be willing to share Patient Generated Health Data from wearables or mobile apps with their health insurer. This could become a rich source of population health data to inform aged care interventions.

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TAKE THE

PLUNGE

Digital health tools are the cornerstone of a modern healthcare system that is patient-centered, data driven and wellness focused. Therefore, health service leaders are encouraged to develop strategies to meet older Australians’ digital health needs.
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Treat the person, not the demographic. With big data insights and service design, you can develop solutions that address individuals’ needs.

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Take an integrated approach. Use technology as an enabler, making healthcare seamless and consistent across all touchpoints.

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Break down barriers. Wearable, connected technology, along with new approaches to data sharing, makes it easier for older Australians to access information and care.

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Think of doctors as partners. Healthcare professionals are in an excellent position to be trusted advocates for continuing adoption of digital health tools.

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The power of digital health for four million aging Australians lies in how they use tools to manage their health and interact with a system that understands who they are—and what they need to live a healthy, fulfilled life.

TWEET THIS!
The power of #digitalhealth for aging Australians lies in how they use #ehealth tools.

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