Baby Boomers have come of age. Leaping from nearly 57 million Americans in 2010 to more than 75 million over age 60 by 2020, this group of patients will have a significant impact on the healthcare system. It’s well-documented that this group is poised to put a strain on the healthcare system, but health technology can play a significant role in reducing costs and improving care for this demographic through better communication platforms, health-monitoring services, educational materials and enabling self-care. This is one of the driving factors behind meaningful use requirements. The goal is to make healthcare more efficient, allowing providers to treat more patients while keeping costs low.
The Right Tech for the Right Age Group
Consumer health technology can help providers reach patients where they are, potentially mitigating some of the strain an aging population presents by keeping them healthy and out of the hospital. It’s important, though, to ensure that the right technology is being put to use. Baby Boomers are ready to utilize technology to take an active role in their own care, almost as much as younger patients. Research published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research showed that Baby Boomers are ready to make use of health information websites, email, automated call centers, medical video conferences and text messaging as part of their healthcare services. However, this age group was less likely to adopt services like podcasts, kiosks, smartphone apps, blog posts and wikis. In developing health technologies, providers and payers need to keep in mind the preferences of their targeted age groups.