Most seniors want to manage their own healthcare digitally – survey

23 Nov 2013

Most (57pc) of tech-savvy senior citizens are seeking digital options for managing their health services remotely but only a third of healthcare providers offer such capabilities, a new Accenture survey suggests.

The services seniors would like include virtual physician consultations (as indicated by 42pc of survey respondents) and self-serve tools (62pc), such as online appointment scheduling.

Sixty-seven per cent of seniors surveyed said access to their health information is important, but only 28pc have full access to their electronic health records.

Similarly, 70pc of survey respondents said they believe it’s important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, but only 46pc said they can do that today.

Fifty-eight per cent of seniors want to be able to email healthcare providers, but only 15pc said they currently have that capability.

Internet use is increasing among senior citizens, as well. The Pew Internet & American Life Project revealed internet use between 2000 to 2012 tripled for those age 65 and older, and doubled among those age 50-64.

“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,” said Jill Dailey, managing director of payer strategy, Accenture Health.

“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 doctors’ offices.”

Accenture surveyed 9,015 adults age 18 and over in Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States, including 200 US seniors age 65 and over receiving Medicare benefits.

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Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic