Survey: Older Canadians most likely to benefit from digital health technology; least likely to adopt
Jul 25, 2017
58 per cent of older Canadians agree that digital technology would help them better connect with their healthcare provider but only 20 per cent currently use it
Toronto – Canada is bracing for a “ Silver Tsunami ” as the number of seniors now exceeds that of children in the country for the first time ever. Healthcare, more than any other service, is expected to feel the biggest impact of the population wave. Digital healthcare technology holds the promise to empower Canadians to be more engaged in their ongoing care and proactively manage their health, particularly, Canada’s aging population; however a new study commissioned by TELUS Health reveals that those who would most benefit from healthcare innovation are the least likely to adopt it.
According to the survey, Canadians in the baby boomer (52+) and greatest generation (age 71+) categories reported they were the most likely to access a healthcare provider (78 per cent). However, while 58 per cent in this demographic agreed that digital health tools would help them connect with their healthcare provider, this group ranked the lowest to use them (20 per cent). Further, Canadians 52+ were 10 per cent less likely than younger generations to agree that digital technology empowers them to take control of their health.
“The silver tsunami we’re seeing in Canada tells us that not only is it increasingly important to educate Canadians about the impact technology can have on health outcomes but also to ensure we are maximizing the opportunity to put these digital health tools in place so all patients and their care providers can stay better connected,” says Dr. Susan Lea-Makenny, Director and Senior Medical Advisor at the INLIV Clinic. “As a doctor and former nurse, I have seen first-hand how digital solutions can empower older Canadians to take control of their own health by gaining valuable and timely information and improve their overall care.”
While these findings highlight the need to educate and engage all Canadians on the role of digital health technologies, a supplementary survey of Canadian healthcare providers uncovered tremendous support for the role that digital technology plays in staying connected with patients and other healthcare providers.
Whether it’s to book appointments or send an alert when medications run low, three in four healthcare providers report are using digital technologies to communicate with patients. Of those healthcare providers surveyed, 80 per cent reported using digital technology to communicate with other healthcare professionals; and six in 10 hold the belief that this integrated health-team interaction improves patients’ overall wellness.
With 89 per cent of healthcare professionals agreeing that accessible, secure information sharing platforms between individuals and healthcare professionals would improve patient outcomes, these results demonstrate the need for further education for Canadians – especially those 52+ – on the important role digital solutions can play.
“Digital life is not just for millennials and GenX anymore – technology helps every generation stay connected for reasons related to health, safety and general companionship,” says Paul Lepage, President, TELUS Health. “All Canadians have a role to play when it comes to managing and sharing health information for ourselves, our partners or as caregivers to children and aging relatives. Today, it’s increasingly important that all Canadians – especially older generations – speak to their doctors about how to incorporate technology into their care and improve their health outcomes. TELUS is committed to innovation and partnering with Canada’s health systems and other like-minded companies to transform healthcare through the use of world-class telecommunications and technology.”
More from the TELUS Health Digital Life survey
87 per cent of Canadians agree that accessible, secure information-sharing between individuals and healthcare professionals would have a positive impact on the health of Canadians
Nearly seven in 10 (68 per cent) Ontarians agree that digital technology helps them connect with their healthcare provider, which is significantly greater than those in Atlantic Canada (54 per cent) and Quebec (57 per cent)
Nearly two in three Canadian men (65 per cent) agree that digital technology plays an important role in managing their health, versus 58 per cent of women
Canadians 52+ report being more connected to their healthcare providers than their romantic partners
Nine in ten Canadians state that technology that enables their independence and ensures safety and security is important.
94 per cent of Canadians agree that EMRs allow doctors or specialists to provide improved quality of care to patients, however nearly one in two are unsure if their family doctor uses an electronic medical record
You can watch an animated video of the findings at http://telus.my/k7APSn
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