Seniors want more mobile healthcare options

November 27, 2013

More tech-savvy seniors want access to healthcare via smartphones, tablets and other web devices.

Physicians looking for more ways to communicate with their patients using smartphones, tablets, and other web devices shouldn’t forget senior citizens. Forty-two percent of patients over 65 years old say they want access to virtual physician consultations, while 62% appreciate technology such as online scheduling, according to a recent survey by Accenture.

“Just as seniors are turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment, and communications, they also expect to handle certain aspects of their healthcare services online,” says Jill Dailey, managing director of payer strategy, Accenture Health.

The survey found that though seniors want more web-savvy ways to interact with healthcare, they don’t always get them from providers. Most seniors (58%) want to be able to communicate via email, though only 15% have the capability. Though 67% of seniors think that access to their health information is important, only 28% are able to view electronic health records. Less than half (46%) of seniors surveyed fill prescriptions electronically, though 70% believe it is important.

“What this means for providers and health plans is that they’ll need to expand their digital options if they want to attract older patients and help them track and manage their care outside their doctor’s office,” says Dailey.

Senior mobile healthcare could possibly be a booming business in the next few years, as 3.5 million people will reach the age of 65 by 2023. At least 75% of Medicare recipients have Internet access, and 57% of seniors consider themselves tech savvy.

“As the digitally engaged senior patient population continues to grow, healthcare systems need to consider the role the Internet can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point,” says Dailey.