Here are some startling statistics: every day in the U.S., 10,000 adults celebrate their 65th birthday; by the year 2034, adults over 65 will outnumber children under 18; twenty percent of U.S. residents will be of retirement age by 2030. This spike in the number of older Americans will have an enormous impact on the health care industry. Needless to say, prevention of costly diseases will be critical, which is why we’ve designed WebMD ONE Senior to meet the specific needs of today’s Medicare-eligible population.
Today’s seniors are different:
- They want to stay healthy and fit as they age. They feel much younger and healthier than their parents’ generation, and many report feeling years younger than their actual age.
- They have a range of health needs. Seniors are a diverse group, from newly minted 65-year-old golfers to 85-year-olds who may need assistance with daily living.
- They use technology. Fifty-four percent of seniors consider themselves technologically sophisticated—the so-called “silver surfer” generation. Wearable use among seniors has grown by 264%, more than five times the general population. Perhaps most importantly, seniors feel that the main reason technology is important is for managing their health.
WebMD ONE Senior is different, too.
WebMD ONE Senior leverages technology, the science of behavior change, and key insights about this population to give seniors personalized, actionable advice to stay healthy and prevent the onset of costly health care conditions.
Here’s what seniors can take advantage of:
Senior Health Assessment
With the help of the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, we revamped the Senior Health Assessment (SHA) to make it easier to complete and more relevant.
- The new SHA asks questions beyond clinical health, like whether a senior has opportunities to socialize or regularly eats fruits and vegetables.
- Biometric information can be supplied generically if a member doesn’t have the exact numbers at hand (e.g., by indicating a doctor has told them their cholesterol levels are normal).
- Seniors can complete the health assessment online, on paper, or over the phone.
- Seniors receive personalized recommendations upon completing the SHA and a list of resources and tools that can help them set and keep healthy goals.
WebMD ONE Senior incorporates our core behavior change tool, Daily Habits, a scientific, clinically-based approach that focuses on incremental behavioral change to drive results. In addition to helping with exercise, nutrition, stress, and diabetes, Daily Habits has a new feature just for seniors called The Balanced Living Plan. This component is mobile-friendly for tech-savvy seniors and focuses on activities and goals that are uniquely relevant to them, like:
- fall prevention;
- sleep quality;
- social connectedness;
- medication adherence; and
- brain health.
For today’s seniors on the go, WebMD ONE Senior’s text-based coaching can provide targeted messaging, relevant content, preventive care reminders, interactive quizzes, polls, and well-being challenges. Specific health conditions addressed by text-based coaching include heart health, diabetes self-management, and high blood pressure management. There’s even a feature that helps seniors remember when to take medications. For those who are more comfortable talking over the phone, we still offer telephonic outreach via our coaching staff.
Support for all aspects of daily living
Medical experts agree that a good portion of a senior’s overall health and well-being hinges on the non-clinical factors in their lives—the “social determinants of health.” These are things like whether a senior has access to nutritious food, reliable transportation, or healthy social connections.
Through the Senior Health Assessment and our senior-focused Pulse Surveys, our platform gives health plans key data on these topics so that they can target their own tools and resources to help. For example, if a participant indicates via one of our surveys that they can’t get to a doctor’s appointment, the health plan can step in to provide transportation.
It’s a win-win for health plans and seniors.
With huge numbers of seniors enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans, health plans have an incentive to focus on maintaining the good health of this population. Likewise, seniors are more interested than ever in prolonging their quality of life. WebMD ONE Senior supports the needs of both these groups. For more information on the launch of the new WebMD ONE Senior, check out our press release and visit our website.
 Blue Research Senior Segment Research 2016; Seniors Want Their Digital Health, Too: dispelling myths about seniors and digital health.” Accenture 2016.