Baby Boomers and mHealth: A diverse match made in heaven, but one that may not be lit

I'm coming clean this week: I'm a Baby Boomer and one that is closer to one end of the age range than the other and I'll let that aspect remain a mystery. That's why I truly enjoyed reading one of the most interesting insights regarding Boomers and mHealth that hit our desks here at FierceMobileHealthcare. This is the gist: Boomers and mHealth are a match made in heaven for a slew of reasons. Yet the "match" may not get a needed spark to ignite for quite some time.

One big reason is that Boomers are a very unique mHealth user population segment; when it comes to technology adoption, a one-size-fits-all approach won't work. Rather, mHealth requires the extreme opposite, as it will need to conform and customize on a slew of fronts, as Boomers are incredibly diverse.

A good number of us are tech savvy, yet are still a bit old school when it comes to privacy, sharing data and putting information in the cloud. What's more, an increasing number of us--but not all of us--are dealing with a growing array of health issues, much more than the previous generation and Generation X.

For example, I'm very much a Boomer in some ways and not so much in some others. My health is very good, and right now I'm not part of the growing number of Boomers dealing with chronic disease, ailments and health crises. I'm not taking any prescriptions, so I don't need to track medication adherence or any vital signs such as blood sugar or heart rate. I regularly work out and while I've attempted to use a fitness band as part of my competitive nature to hit goals, I wound up dropping it into a desk drawer after about two weeks as it proved to be a distraction. I don't need to be in touch with my doctor on anything more than an annual basis, compared to some of my fellow Boomers, who need such contact weekly, or at least every few months.

Additionally, I am ever curious about new technology and have no qualms about trying apps and researching various online and mobile-based tools. However, I also know a fair number of Boomers who do not share my passion for knowledge and still rely on their teenage or millennial children to help them deal with smartphone issues.

I'm part of the Boomer segment that is eagerly awaiting for my physicians and insurance provider to get up to speed on what some competitors are doing with mHealth; I want them to bring it up during check-ups and in feedback regarding my insurance coverage. Yet, I've also watched fellow Boomers acknowledge they don't have an email or even use texting services.

The mHealth innovators are diligently innovating, but the industry is still in the toddler stage by most accounts. What this means for me, as Laurie Orlov, founder of market research firms Aging in Place Technology Watch and Boomer Health Tech Watch, says, is that I'll have the ability to watch mHealth grow up, but likely won't be celebrating as it moves into adulthood.

On one hand it could be a great thing if I don't need such tools; but it's a sad situation if, in fact, I do. And it must be a frustrating scenario for all those involved in mHealth development who are striving hard to propel it fast through childhood and those teenage years. It's one unique example of when growing up too fast would be a very good thing. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)

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