Telemedicine Increasingly Popular with Older Patients

Everyone knows millennials are a tech-savvy generation accustomed to services on-demand— even when it comes to medical care management. But what about the 65+ crowd — would services like telemedicine work for them? Surprisingly, studies say yes.

This week, AP-NORC released a report showing about 9 in 10 Americans over 40 would be comfortable using telemedicine for their care.

Here are the highlights and key takeaways from over 1,500 interviews, relevant to medical providers:

People are on-board with receiving healthcare via phone and video
  • Asked about receiving medical care via video such as Skype or Facetime – about half of all adults felt comfortable with it. Care via phone was even more popular. (Both are referred to as “telemedicine”).
  • Respondents said they’d feel comfortable using telemedicine to discuss medications, for ongoing care of a chronic illness, or even for an urgent health concern.
Patients & Caregivers are both on-board with telemedicine
  • The appeal of telemedicine isn’t just with patients themselves. 87% of caregivers are interested in using telemedicine to meet the needs of a loved one.
When it comes to comfort level with telemedicine – there’s little difference between younger & older generations
  • Baby boomers are actually just as comfortable with the service as Millennials are. The report states that “those age 40 and older are just as likely as those age 18 to 39 to be comfortable using telemedicine services, and they are generally just as comfortable with each mode of communication.”
Quality-of-care and security remain a concern
  • Despite a willingness to participate, 50% are still concerned telemedicine will lead to receiving a lower standard of care. With this as a concern, it becomes even more important to have the right team providing the service.
  • While most physicians are not able to fully provide telemedicine services in-house, due to cost and available resources, there are many options for practices that wish to partner with a telemedicine services provider.
  • To produce higher quality interactions and outcomes, the practice should find a partner equipped with experienced RNs, who abide by the same HIPAA standards, and work within the same EMR.
Older Americans underestimate the likelihood they will need long-term care
  • It’s true that 7 in 10 Americans will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime, yet most respondents under-estimated this fact. Most patients have not planned for their needs as they age.   This includes making living arrangements, setting aside money, or modifying their home for safety purposes.
Patients & caregivers don’t feel prepared for long-term care (therefore: the Medical industry needs to be equipped)
  • 70% of patients who receive long-term care get it from their family members, but 83% of potential future caregivers reported feeling only somewhat prepared or not prepared at all.
Getting patients the care they need

Programs such as Medicare’s Chronic Care Management (CCM) and leading telemedicine companies aim to meet the needs of our aging population.

These programs seek to replicate the clinical in-person experience and knowledge outside the four walls of the doctor’s office. Patients contending with stroke, cardiac problems and other serious illnesses often cannot wait for bi-monthly visits, and need better options to overcome mobility challenges and stay informed on their care plans and medication routines.

As more research becomes available, it becomes even clearer – to be successful the next generation of telemedicine will need to be more personal, patient-centric, and integrated with the primary care physicians’ systems and staff.



About the Author

Patrick Stevenson is the Care Management Services Officer for Wellbox, the all-inclusive solution for tracking and billing for Chronic Care Management and Annual Wellness Visits, as well as offering in-demand Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring services.

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