Older Adults Using Healthcare Technology More Than We Think
March 27, 2019
Seniors may not have grown up with technology, and they may not be as tech-savvy as Millennials or Gen-Z, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in or actively using online and digital services. In fact, Pew Research found that older adults are using healthcare technology more than we think. What’s more, roughly two-thirds of adults ages 65 and older have an online presence, and smartphone usage among seniors has nearly quadrupled in the last five years.
Healthcare’s digital revolution is certainly built to grow with younger generations, as almost everything they need is now accessible via their smartphones. And conversely, these generations are influencing much of the change we currently see in our industry. Yet, findings from our own work with some of the nation’s largest healthcare providers show that a different set of users is also benefitting from this digital ‘coming of age,’ and that older adults are using healthcare technology more than initially expected.
Just look at The Iowa Clinic, which now allows its patients to schedule appointments online with our online self-scheduling solution. In tracking and analyzing the clinic’s scheduling patterns, we found that patients over the age of 40 accounted for more than 43 percent of appointments scheduled online. Moreover, patients over the age of 60 represented a solid 13 percent of those individuals.
When looking at those numbers, it is clear that seniors, similar to millennials, have also come to embrace the convenience of technology. We’ve put a lot of work into making the experience of scheduling an appointment intuitive, straightforward, and safer for all, regardless of age or ability, by creating a clear path from the patient to the best possible fit provider. What’s not to like about booking your next appointment from your couch, or in the middle of the night?
The number of Americans ages 65 and older is expected to more than double from 46 million today to more than 98 million by 2060. The need to provide simplified, transparent, and timely access to care for every generation is only going to become more critical. We can’t forget that while America is graying, their healthcare needs are also growing, and there will always be more opportunity to reach and serve older generations with digital tools.