When we discuss the opportunity for greater online access with doctors and the capabilities of secure web-based patient portals to create a new level of convenience and better access, too often the image of a young twenty-something web-savvy patient comes to mind as the early adopter and heavy user of such a relationship. But is this really the case? How do older patients react to the opportunities of web connectivity with their doctor?
At Hello Health, we have the privilege of being a technology and business partner to hundreds of primary care practices who serve patients across the United States with family, internal, pediatric and integrative medical care. This gives us a unique window into the receptivity of online patient communications by patients of different ages.
Recently we examined our patient demographics with this topic in mind. While not projectable to the overall market, with thousands of patient subscribers, we are on the front lines of where electronic medical records and practice technologies are heading – to greater patient engagement.
The data may surprise you.
- 61% of patient subscribers to the Hello Health platform are over the age of 50
- 41% of patient subscribers are aged 60 and older
- 5% of patient subscribers are aged 80 and older
- Patients under the age of 30 at non-pediatric practices account for 6% of patients.
- There are no significant differences between female and male representation by age segment
So what does this tell us? Since for most of us we are not likely to be healthier than we are today, age naturally brings more health issues. These issues increase the value of making appointment scheduling and access to our health information and our doctor simpler and more convenient. Worth paying for. It is also a reflection of how far web-based communications have penetrated our daily lives. It’s how we share updates with family and friends, how we bank, purchase goods and services; reserve a table at our favorite restaurant. Now we can say its a healthy trend too. Regardless of how old we are. Online access has no patient age borders.
Stephen Armstrong is senior vice president for Hello Health, the revenue generating EHR platform for primary care practices supporting practice vitality through patient engagement.