Online Seniors

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.

Mike

One response to “Online Seniors

  1. I could not agree more. It’s not like a senior today can actually avoid technology. I’m amazed at my own parents and mother-in-law, neither of who are techies by any stretch of the imagination. If they see a strong enough benefit to themselves or lifestyle, very little will stop them from using a technology. It may take them a little bit longer, due to a lack of immediate experience but it will not stop them.

    As an aside…
    I would also extend that argument to physicians. It is not that they don’t buy/use technology, the don’t buy/use BAD technology. Like seniors this group of end users is poorly understood, and this is at the peril of vendors.

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