Tech-Savvy Seniors Seek Digital Tools to Manage Health

More than half of seniors 65 years and older are seeking digital options for managing their health services remotely, according to a new Accenture survey.

Although many seniors want access to healthcare technology, such as virtual physician consultations (42 percent) and self-serve tools (62 percent) like online appointment scheduling, research shows only a third of healthcare providers currently offer such capabilities.

The growing population of seniors — an estimated 3.5 million U.S. citizens a year are expected to reach 65 years-old through 20231 — are active online users, as documented by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that shows Internet use between 2000 to 2012 tripled for those 65 and older and doubled among those 50 to 64 years-old. Accenture’s analysis shows at least three-fourths of Medicare recipients access the Internet, at least once a day, for e-mail (91 percent) or to conduct online searches (73 percent) and a third access social media sites, such as Facebook, at least once a week.

Two-thirds of seniors (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. Similarly, 70 percent of those surveyed believe it’s important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, but, fewer than half (46 percent) say they can do so today. And, the majority (58 percent) want to be able to e-mail healthcare providers, but only 15 percent say they currently have that capability.

Accenture conducted consumer research with 9,015 adults ages 18+ to assess consumer perceptions of their medical providers’ electronic capabilities across nine countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States, including 200 U.S. seniors (ages 65+) receiving Medicare benefits, to assess their perceptions of using digital tools to manage their own healthcare. Where relevant, the consumer survey findings were compared to Accenture’s Medicare technology research and the Accenture Doctors Survey.

Source: Accenture , November 21, 2013

2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Telemedicine provides actionable new information from more than 125 healthcare organizations on their utilization of telehealth and telemedicine, and documents trends and metrics on current and planned telehealth and telemedicine initiatives and includes a year-over-year comparison of telehealth trends from 2009 to present.

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