One of my pet peeves when discussing Consumer eHealth is hearing people suggest that seniors won’t use the Internet or a computer. Recently released statistics from Neilsen suggest otherwise (http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/six-million-more-seniors-using-the-web-than-five-years-ago). According to Neilsen’s research, “the number of seniors actively using the Internet has increased by more than 55 percent” in the past five years. Further, the research also found that “time spent on the Internet by seniors increased 11 percent” in the same time period.
For those of you considering or designing a Consumer eHealth application, it is worth noting that Neilsen estimates that nearly half (47.3%) of people 65 years or older have used the Internet to check personal health information in the past 30 days. This Internet activity ranks higher than travel planning or reading business / financial news and is on par with general news reading, viewing photos on line and paying bills on line.
As a senior citizen is reported to have said to his family physician when asked if he was comfortable using a computer to record his blood pressure, “Sonny, if I can navigate a Lancaster bomber over Europe in the dark I can certainly figure out how to use my computer”. Lets stop treating seniors as technophobes or, worse, too stupid to learn how to use a computer.