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Low Rate of Internet Use by Seniors for Health Purposes

(The JAMA Network Journals) The sickest, most expensive, and fastest growing segment of the U.S. population are seniors 65 years and older. Digital health technology has been advocated as a solution to improve health care quality, cost, and safety. However, little is known about digital health use among seniors. For this study, the researchers analyzed results from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a nationally representative survey of community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older…
By 2014, although cell phone and computer use were stable, small statistically significant increases were noted in other every day technologies. Use of 3 of 4 digital health technologies increased. The proportion of seniors who used any digital health increased from 21 percent in 2011 to 25 percent in 2014.
"Digital health is not reaching most seniors and is associated with socioeconomic disparities, raising concern about its ability to improve quality, cost, and safety of their health care. Future innovations should focus on usability, adherence, and scalability to improve the reach and effectiveness of digital health for seniors," the authors write.
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