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Survey: Seniors want to access their healthcare online

March 5, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A growing number of tech-savvy seniors want to access healthcare services from home, but most of them don’t think that today’s technology is sufficient enough to do so, according to a new survey from the New York-based research firm Accenture.

The survey, of nearly 11,000 adults across 10 countries, also showed seniors who place a higher priority on technology are more likely to proactively manage their health. For example, most seniors (75 percent) who value technology are active in tracking their weight digitally, compared with 43 percent of those who do not. Similarly, half of tech-savvy seniors are actively monitoring their cholesterol, compared with 31 percent of those who do not value technology.

The data further indicate that seniors are interested in accessing a number of digital technology applications they can use to better manage their healthcare, including:

  • Self-care: More than two-in-three seniors prefer to use self-care technology to independently manage their health.
  • Wearables: More than three-in-five seniors are willing to wear a health-monitoring device to track vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Online communities: Three-in-five seniors are somewhat or very likely to turn to online communities, such as Patient Like Me, for reactions to a doctor’s recommendation before acting on it.
  • Navigating healthcare: A third of seniors would prefer to work with a patient navigator to manage their healthcare. Last year, $384 million was invested in solutions, like patient navigators, for care navigation.
  • Health record management: A quarter of seniors regularly use electronic health records (EHRs) for managing their health, such as accessing lab results (57 percent), and projections by Accenture suggest it will grow to 42 percent in five years, as consumer-facing tools increase.

“Just as seniors are turning to digital tools for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to handle certain aspects of their healthcare services online,” Kaveh Safavi MD, global managing director of Accenture’s health business, said in a statement. “What this means for healthcare systems is that they need to consider the role that digital technology can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point.”