Friday, March 20, 2015
Now Here Is A Real Problem That Too Many Just Ignore. The Elderly and Technology Use.
This speared a few days ago.
Posted on Mar 12, 2015
By Michelle Ronan Noteboom, Contributing writer
Over Christmas, my 79-year-old father visited me for a few days and joined us for Christmas Eve mass. Just before the service started, my father’s phone rang. He quickly pulled the phone out of his pocket and silenced it. As he did, the people behind us started giggling and said, “Hey look! It’s a flip phone!”
It is a little funny to see my dad with his quaint flip phone, similar to the one I had about eight years ago. My father, who refuses to attempt texting and never checks his voicemail, will probably never switch to a smart phone since the flip phone already has more features than he’ll ever use.
A little background on my dad: He’s a former college professor who spent many years using computers for research, writing, and email. He’s not a technology novice, but he’s far from a sophisticated user: he has a list of passwords taped to his monitor and more than a few times he has told me he “lost” an email he created – only to find it later in that little folder labeled “drafts.”
In other words, his use and acceptance of technology is better than many seniors, but worse than some. And at age 79, he is in the segment of the population with the highest rates for healthcare utilization. His is also the segment least likely to urge their doctors to offer online scheduling tools, electronic access to test results, options for secure email communications and online viewing of their electronic medical record.
How anxious are seniors to take advantage of technologies that promise to extend care to more patients, to improve access to care, and engage patients with providers? A recent Accenture survey put the spotlight on "tech-savvy seniors," finding that two-thirds of those who place a high priority on technology want access to online healthcare services.
I really liked the last paragraph of the article:
“So all you healthcare technology folks targeting seniors for your next great app, please take note: If you thought clinicians were slow to embrace new technologies, wait until you meet my dad.”
Given the hope for the PCEHR was that the chronically ill would be major users this issue might turn out to need further thought.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Friday, March 20, 2015