Most Elderly Consumers Want Digital Home Health Tools
More than two-thirds of elderly U.S. residents want access to health care services from home, but a majority say they are concerned current technology cannot facilitate such capabilities, according to a new survey by Accenture, Modern Healthcare reports (Tahir, Modern Healthcare, 3/2).
For the survey, researchers polled 10,730 adults across 10 countries, including 354 Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older in the U.S. The survey was conducted between May 2014 and June 2014.
The survey found that while 67% of elderly respondents said they wanted access to health services in their homes, 66% of respondents are concerned that today's technology is insufficient to do so.
Meanwhile, 62% of elderly respondents said researching health information was their top reason for going online.
According to the survey, elderly respondents who said they value technology were more likely to be proactive in their health care. Specifically, the survey found that:
- 75% of elderly respondents who value technology said they track their weight digitally, compared with 43% who said they do not value technology; and
- 50% of elderly respondents who value technology said they actively monitor their cholesterol, compared with 31% who do not value technology (Goth, Health Data Management, 3/3).
The survey also found that elderly respondents reported interest in a variety of health technologies. For example:
- More than 66% of elderly respondents said they preferred to use self-care technology to manage their health;
- More than 60% said they were willing to use a wearable device to monitor their vitals;
- 60% said they were somewhat or very likely to research a doctor's treatment recommendation on online health communities (Pai, MobiHealthNews, 3/2); and
- 20% said they were interested in technologies, such as virtual consultations.
Meanwhile, 25% of elderly respondents said they regularly use electronic health records to manage their health. Of those respondents, 57% said they use EHRs to access lab results.
According to the survey, the percentage of elderly respondents using EHRs could increase to 42% over the next five years as more consumer-facing tools come to market.
Kaveh Safavi, global managing director of Accenture's health business, said the results of the survey show that health systems "need to consider the role that digital technology can play in making health care more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point" (Health Data Management, 3/3).
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