Survey: Four years ago half of baby boomers were interested in texting, video conferencing for health

By Aditi Pai
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baby boomer surveyAs a group, about 35 percent of baby boomers were interested in using their smartphone to learn about and better manage their own health,  from a survey conducted by academic researchers in late 2010. The survey, which consisted of responses from 469 consumers, 258 of which are baby boomers, only published its findings this month.

Researchers from Saint Louis University, Northern Arizona University, and George Mason University conducted the survey to determine which technologies the aging baby boomers are most ready to use to manage their health. The researchers were also interested in the difference between baby boomers and the younger generation, consumers aged 18 to 45 as well as the older generation, consumers over 65. The survey was conducted at the time when the oldest baby boomers were just beginning to turn 65 years old.

In the report, the researchers noted that baby boomers now make up the largest segment of the US population and around 60 percent of baby boomers have already been diagnosed with at least one chronic medical condition. Some of the more common conditions for this group include arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and hypertension. 

Researchers sent the survey invitation to 3,000 people who had signed up to receive marketing emails from large pharmacy benefit management company, but only 469 completed the survey.

The baby boomers said they were much more likely to use health information websites, email, automated call centers, medical video conferencing, and texting when compared to the older age group. But they said they were less likely to use podcasts, kiosks, smartphones, blogs, and wikis when compared to the younger age group.

Around half of the baby boomer population was interested in using a call center, a video conference, and texting for healthcare purposes. The smallest percentage of baby boomers, 21.3 percent, were interested in using wikis.

In the younger group, the only technology that less than half of the responders were interested in was wiki. On the other hand, phone, email, and health information websites were the only resources that over half of the oldest group, aged 65 and up, were comfortable with.