How to engage baby boomers in healthcare technology

As baby boomers age, their increasing need for care will place a high demand on the healthcare industry. Advances in technology may help ease that burden, but only if developers use the right tools and platforms, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, looks at the degree to which the baby boomer generation is prepared to embrace, or is currently embracing, consumer health tech.

Respondents of all ages, from 18-64 years, were surveyed for the study. The findings show that boomers are more likely than those age 64 and up to embrace five technologies: websites (84.5 percent), email (81 percent), call centers (52 percent), video conferencing (49.6 percent) and texting (49.6 percent).

However, baby boomers are wary of using technologies like podcasts (38.6 percent), smartphones (34.5 percent), and wikis (21.3 percent) for health-related purposes, the study found.

For boomers, familarity breeds adoption, the study found. The lesson: Consumer health technologies should be designed around tech with high adoption rates, not emerging tech. 

As more baby boomers age into Medicare eligibility, affordability solutions must go beyond cost-cutting or re-engineering, author and futurist Ian Morrison, Ph.D., wrote in Hospitals & Health Networks

"We need to harness the innovation that entrepreneurial companies can bring and to encourage large-scale delivery systems to deploy them," he wrote.

To learn more:
- check out the JMIR study