Canada's aging population is accelerating. Consequently, there is more focus on the growing number of tech-savvy seniors who are seeking digital options for managing their health services remotely.
This is according to a new Accenture survey, which suggests that, although seniors in Canada want access to healthcare technology, such as electronic reminders (58%) and online appointment scheduling (65%), only 10% of healthcare providers currently offer such capabilities.
The growing population of seniors in Canada are active online users, as documented by Revera's 2013 report, showing regular Internet use has more than tripled for citizens ages 65 and older over the past decade. Accenture's research shows 29% of seniors are now self-tracking health indicators, such as weight and blood pressure, and this figure is poised to rise.
"Just as seniors are turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to virtually manage certain aspects of their healthcare services," says Debra Sandomirsky, managing director of Accenture's health business in Canada. "What this means is that health systems need to expand their digital options if they want to attract older patients and help them track and manage their care outside their doctor's office."
75% of seniors say that access to their health information is important, but only 14% currently can access their records, according to Accenture's data. Similarly, 55% believe it's important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, but only 14% say they can do so today. And 46% want to be able to email healthcare providers, but only 7% say they currently have that capability.
"As a growing number of seniors are digitally-engaged, healthcare systems need to consider the role the Internet can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point," Sandomirsky added.