How important is eHealth for Seniors? (VERY)

The 2013 Accenture HealthCare Consumer Survey confirms it…older individuals are using the internet more (and more) and Health Information is a key reason why. The Digital revolution is not just for the young but for older individuals as well and they want access to more of their healthcare online. Internet use rates have tripled amongst older populations 65 and over and have doubled for those between age 50 and 64 between 2000 and 2012 according to Pew Research.

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Accenture surveyed 9,015 adults in nine countries, including 1,470 US seniors 65 over and conducted a separate survey of 200 Medicare consumers.  Here are some of the key findings:

  • Most older users used the internet at least once a day.
  • 91%   said they use email frequently and 73 %  search the internet frequently.
  • Around 30% used Facebook or other social media.
  •  67%  of US seniors said accessing medical information online was very or somewhat important to them.
  • 56% of Medicare customers had visited their health plan’s website at least once in the past 12 months.
  • Only 28 % of seniors reported having full access to their electronic health record, but 83 % wanted access
  • 68 %  of seniors said the ability to refill prescriptions electronically was somewhat or very important, but just 46 % reported being able to do so

Those surveyed were also asked about what was the most important digital offering a Doctor or Hospital could provide:

  • 46% wanted the ability to access their electronic health records & medical history online or via mobile
  •  42 % wanted the ability to see a doctor virtually and without a co-pay
  • 15% wanted a mobile app or online tool in order to schedule their appointments

So it would seem that it’s not just the younger demographics who are looking to manage certain aspects of their healthcare online. While a representative of Accenture Health indicated that “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.

I think it also means that younger demographics will not just wish for it but will demand it.

It’s 2013 after all. While we are not flying around in cars in the sky;  we should certainly be able to manage our healthcare like we do our chequebook…online.

Read the Accenture Study Summary – Insight Driven Health – Silver Surfers are catching the eHealth Wave