How Seniors (and Their Families) Benefit from Digital Healthcare

doctor talking to his senior female patient at office Want to view your online bank statement without accessing a website? There’s an app for that. Order pizza sans credit card? There’s an app for that. Monitor your dog’s (boring) kennel activity from work? There’s even an app for that.

When it comes to any kind of product or service, millennials and Gen X’ers alike have made it clear that they want what they want when they want it. And retailers of all sorts, clamoring to gain (and keep) business from this continually emerging market, have catered to those demands by ensuring round-the-clock access to most products and services – this approach has even begun to appear in healthcare as retail health clinics pop up all over the country.

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Catering to the young is nothing new for retailers who must gain customers early for maximum impact, but, how does the healthcare industry take a page from retailers who are primarily targeting the young with the latest and greatest technology solutions, when a large majority of its client base includes seniors?

Digital Care Caters to Seniors

Though the majority of seniors may not yet be demanding anytime, anywhere access when it comes to healthcare, they, and their families stand to benefit from digital solutions the most.

The increasingly aging population coupled with a shortage of healthcare providers has helped spawn the healthcare industry to make the leap into the digital age. Now an industry that until recently relied on paper patient medical records that were rarely shared amongst a patient’s other providers, has begun to implement a system of electronic health records that can be shared online with patients and providers alike, opening the door for a host of digital services that are now becoming more prevalent in the healthcare arena: It is now possible to view electronic health records online, receive lab/test results from a clinician’s online portal and consult with a provider through video chat on your mobile phone.

Less-frequent Travel

Seniors, who are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions that require frequent care from providers, benefit from the ease and convenience that supplemental digital care solutions offer. Though the need for frequent care traditionally translated to a multitude of trips to a physical clinic, digital care solutions give seniors the freedom to receive the care they need without the hassle of traveling – or asking a family member to transport them – to an in-office appointment.

More Time in Their Own Homes

Seniors who are still capable of living on their own and handling the tasks of daily living, but have chronic health conditions that require more frequent trips to a healthcare provider – and family or friends who either don’t live nearby or are unable to help – sometimes move to assisted living facilities sooner than is necessary due to their need for frequent care.

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Digital health solutions allow seniors to access care from the comfort of their own homes – exchanging emails with providers, chatting by video rather than in-person, and even by using digital monitoring health devices, such as blood glucose monitors that send alerts to doctors when daily measures are higher than average.

These solutions also allow family and friends to help seniors monitor their health from a far – allowing seniors to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

Seniors Welcome the Convenience

While there is no question that seniors stand to benefit from the increasingly vast array of digital health options available, providers often wonder whether seniors will use them. More than half (53%) of seniors included in a recent Accenture study said they think it is important to email with providers – indicating the majority of seniors are already on board.

Family and friends, who are often involved in the healthcare of seniors, can also use digital solutions themselves – or help the senior become more comfortable with them – increasing the likelihood that seniors will get the supplemental healthcare they need in between traditional in-office appointments.

As a larger portion of the population reaches retirement age and the number of healthcare providers fails to keep pace, more affordable, convenient digital health solutions will continue to supplement traditional in-office appointments, allowing seniors to more effectively manage their health regardless of where they live, maintaining their independence for as long as possible.

Read More: Why Continuing Communication Matters →


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