4 Ways to Engage Baby Boomers Using Healthcare Technology
Baby Boomers might not be the first generation that springs to mind as technologically savvy, but they shouldn’t be disregarded. In fact, they’re quickly adopting technology. A 2018 Pew Research survey found that 67 percent of baby boomers use smartphones, 52 percent use a tablet and 57 percent use social media.
And when it comes to Baby Boomer's healthcare, they are more than ready to use technology to manage their health. In a 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a nationally-representative study on healthcare consumers in the U.S., Baby Boomers shared with us technologies they currently use and want to use. While the percentages for current usage are low, Baby Boomers are willing to try many of them.
Now that health centers are beginning to implement some of these digital trends, it’s a great time to engage Baby Boomers to increase market share. Here are four ways Baby Boomers and technology go hand in hand.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI, which takes intelligence processes of humans and applies them to machines, is shaping Baby Boomers' healthcare as we speak, but it’s especially important for Baby Boomers as they age. The shortage of doctors continues to get worse and a recent poll found that 1 in 6 doctors make diagnostic errors. So, if AI is used to support some aspects of patient care, it could be the difference between one getting the best care or suboptimal care. For example, doctors could provide a personalized treatment plan for patients based on medical data they provide and track their medication adherence to make sure everything is going according to plan.
You might wonder how Baby Boomers will be motivated and willing to share this data, but it may be easier than you think. According the 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, 54 percent of Baby Boomers agree they’re willing to share their health data with their doctor. Only 28 percent of Boomers disagree with sharing their health data.
Wearables make use of AI and can have a strong impact. These activity trackers, such as Fitbits and Apple Watches, have been shown to improve outcomes, and for baby boomers, a wearable that monitors falls could save their life.
“Imagine an interaction with a medical provider that allows the consumer to share their wearable health information — sleep patterns, physical activity, heart rate, etc. New algorithms that summarize and highlight problems will allow the clinician to support a consumer on their health journey, gain insight into habits and routines based on actual data instead of often-rosier consumer reporting, and ultimately provide a better diagnosis.”
If 62 percent of seniors are willing to share this data, it’s worth collecting it from the patient to make better diagnosis. It’s as easy to include in a care plan and for some baby boomers, the goals empower them to improve their results and health outcomes.
Digital Engagement Platform
EHR systems are just part of the equation when it comes to digitizing your health processes. Another piece of the puzzle is incorporating a digital engagement platform into your organization’s communication efforts. This offers a two-way channel for patients to interact with their doctor 24/7, saving time and costs for the patient and provider.
While some platforms send the same messaging for all patients, PatientBond uses psychographic segmentation to personalize communications for each patient. This approach, which has been used for decades by consumer experts and retail leaders like P&G, Walgreens and CVS, categorizes consumers into segments based on their values, beliefs, etc. and creates individualized messaging based motivations to activate behaviors. PatientBond modified this approach for healthcare and created five segments that represent healthcare consumers.
- Self Achievers (20% Boomers, 19% General Population): Health is their top priority and they strive to meet their goals. Self Achievers are on-top of their check-ups, vaccines, etc. and are the most proactive health consumers.
- Balance Seekers (17% Boomers, 17% General Population): They view health from all perspectives and are big on wellness. Balance Seekers will collect information from multiple sources before coming to a conclusion.
- Priority Jugglers (20% Boomers, 18% General Population): This segment has a lot on its plate, taking on plenty of responsibilities, so they are reactive when it comes to their own health. But when it comes to their family, Priority Jugglers will do everything they can to take care of them.
- Direction Takers (17% Boomers, 15% General Population): Their doctor’s opinions and knowledge are highly regarded by this segment. Direction Takers are human and may not always follow all of their advice, but they value their doctor’s guidance.
- Willful Endurers (25% Boomers, 31% General Population): This segment is self-reliant and loves to live in the moment. Willful Endurers will go to the doctor only when it’s absolutely necessary, but they don’t let themselves worry about their health.
Psychographic segmentation through PatientBond allows you to dig into motivations that make people want to make a change. 20 percent of Baby Boomers have considered leaving their primary care provider, and that’s a big chunk of patients on the line. By going steps further to personalize the digital engagement experience consistently and over time through psychographic segmentation, you build more loyal patients that will stay long-term and build market share.
Many patients, and even some healthcare professionals, don’t understand what telehealth is, despite the fact that the industry is expected to reach $38 billion by 2029. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) defines telehealth as “the delivery and facilitation of health and health-related services including medical care, provider and patient education, health information services, and self-care via telecommunications and digital communication technologies.”
For providers, telehealth is a great tool to meet with more patients who can’t fit an in-person appointment such as seniors, who typically have a harder time getting around, tend to be isolated or sometimes live in rural communities. That’s why they are the perfect patients to utilize telehealth, but the biggest hurdle is awareness.
Only 17 percent of patients are aware their healthcare provider offers telehealth, which helps explain why only 1 in 10 patients used telehealth in the last 12 months. Among Baby Boomers, it’s even worse with only 2 percent of patients using telehealth in the last 12 months according to the 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic.
But that same diagnostic shows that 13 percent of Baby Boomers would like to try telehealth, which means there’s room for growth. So how can we get patients like Baby Boomers to use telehealth?
The best start is to spread the word through digital engagement using methods such as psychographics. Your center will especially want to target patients that are Self Achievers and Willful Endurers, since the 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic found that those two segments use telehealth more often. 45 percent of Baby Boomers fall into these two segments, making your job a bit easier. And if your patients need more of an incentive to try it, telehealth can be cheaper than making an in-person visit.
Baby Boomers are more capable of adapting to technology than we think and they are more than willing to use it. All they need is information and tools from their healthcare provider to take advantage of it.
For more information on how to engage Baby Boomers and technology using psychographic segmentation, download our whitepaper.