A new survey from consulting firm Accenture finds there is growing demand among tech-savvy seniors (67 percent) who want to access healthcare services from home, but the majority (66 percent) are worried todays technology isnt sufficient to do so.
"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, said Kaveh Safavi, M.D., global managing director of Accentures health business. 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.
In fact, the survey showed the top reason for most seniors (62 percent) to go online was to find health information. Most seniors want access to healthcare technology, such as virtual physician consultations (20 percent), but less than a third of healthcare providers offer such capabilities.
The survey 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 to 43 percent of those who do not. Similarly, half of tech-savvy seniors are actively monitoring their cholesterol, compared to 31 percent of those who do not value technology.
Among the areas most favorable for growth, according to the survey, are:
*Self-care: More than two thirds of seniors prefer to use self-care technology to independently manage their health.
*Wearables: More than 60 percent of 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 for reactions to a doctors recommendation before acting on it.
*Navigating Healthcare: A third of seniors would prefer to work with a patient navigator to manage their healthcare.
*Health Record Management: A quarter of seniors regularly use electronic health records 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.
Accenture conducted consumer research with 10,730 adults across 10 countries (United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain, Norway, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom), including 354 U.S. seniors (ages 65+) receiving Medicare benefits, assessing their perceptions of using technology to manage their health. The survey was fielded between May and June 2014.
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