Healthcare News & Insights

Older patients want online tools, too

We’ve discussed before how patients are relying more on online resources to find information about conditions and treatments, providers and other healthcare issues. And a new survey shows the use of the Internet is growing even among unexpected demographics. 

seniors-web-surfingAs with any other topic area, when people have questions about health care or medicine, they most often look online first. The majority of patients (73%) regularly use online tools and websites to find health-related information, according to a survey released by Manhattan Research earlier this year.

In addition to conducting research, patients also want to use online tools to connect with their healthcare providers. For example, the majority of patients in the U.S. (84%) said they should be given full access to their EHRs, according to a recent survey from Accenture. And close to half (41%) said they would change doctors in order to be able to access their own electronic records.

That makes sense, as the Internet and digital information are becoming more important in all aspects of people’s lives. However, what may be surprising is the growing number of older patients who also feel strongly about using the web for health information and management.

Tech-savvy seniors want more options

Among 200 Medicare patients included in the Accenture survey, 62% said they would like to use online self-service tools to communicate with providers, schedule appointments, request prescription refills and complete other tasks.

In addition, 67% said that accessing their own medical information is important to them, yet only 28% currently have access to their own electronic records.

The bottom line for healthcare providers: All segments of the population are becoming more technologically inclined. It will be important to provide those options in order to retain patients and attract new ones.

And likewise, as more people turn to the web first when they have questions and concerns about their health, hospitals can take advantage of that to improve their marketing and outreach.

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