mHealth adoption by Baby Boomers: Challenges remain

While Baby Boomers are a prime population segment for emerging mHealth apps and devices--as they're living longer and want technology tools for managing medical issues and disease--a slew of challenges remain before devices and apps can be fully entrenched among the demographic group.

The challenges, as noted in a California HealthCare Foundation issue brief, range from boosting adherence of tech tools to costs, provider support and "sorting out the useful from useless" apps, writes Laurie M. Orlov, founder of market research firms Aging in Place Technology Watch and Boomer Health Tech Watch.

Apps, she says, must be better focused on the generation, and government incentives should be used to spur use and commitment to such tools. Additionally, Orlov notes, predictive analysis could improve care, reduce costs and drive a high value point for care providers.

The insight comes at a time of tremendous proliferation of apps, devices and mHealth platforms and systems and echoes the view of Robert Reuss, Ph.D., who identified the challenges facing mHealth wearables in a special Proceedings of the IEEE issue. He cited the development of an industry that will drive value-added solutions, and privacy, political and treatment issues that could divert attention from innovation, in an interview with FierceMobileHealthcare.

Another big hurdle is that despite an ever-growing number of mHealth apps, many have limited value in enhancing healthcare outcomes.

Orlov, in her brief, notes that Baby Boomers must play a critical role in the advancement, adoption and innovation of mHealth.

"Boomers themselves will be responsible for much of the utility of existing and new mobile health inventions," she says. "They will need to use the apps and gad gets consistently and pay attention to the results."

For more information:
- read the California HealthCare Foundation article (.pdf)