Senior citizens today are no strangers to technology. According to a recent report, the use of telehealth and virtual care services increased 300 percent among this group during the pandemic, with 30 percent of seniors using telemedicine at least once a month during this time.
That said, many seniors still like going to the doctor’s office when they have a medical problem or need a routine checkup. One study found that 71 percent of boomers prefer in-person appointments in all circumstances, compared to 55 percent of Gen X, 47 percent of millennials, and 42 percent of Gen Z.
Your practice should consider increasing telehealth and other virtual care opportunities among your oldest patients and continue meaningful communication with younger patients too. By doing so, you can strengthen your margins and help all of your patients achieve better health outcomes while improving the patient experience.
As older patients continue to access their healthcare data from their mobile device, you can engage them in their health goals more than ever before and help them feel involved in their health at all times–not just when they’re at the your office.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to increase adoption of virtual care services among seniors and improve patient engagement.
Be Patient With Your Patients Opting for Telehealth Visits
Learning any new technology requires patience. While today’s seniors are more technologically proficient than their counterparts from a decade or two ago, not everyone knows the ins and outs of computers, tablets, and mobile devices or can intuitively figure out every new application.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, one clinic found that 50 percent of its senior patients weren’t able to figure out how to participate in a virtual visit on their own–despite having the right tools.
Patient tech-related troubles don’t just hinder your patient’s care experience, they can eat into your healthcare provider’s precious time. To overcome this challenge, you need to give your patients every opportunity to be successful, and be willing to lend a helping hand when needed.
For example, you might consider creating video tutorials that clearly show patients how to use virtual care technology. Further, you can also do practice runs with patients who are already in the office and who might be open to telehealth opportunities in the future. That way, when it comes time to have an actual virtual care appointment, your patient will be more comfortable with the technology, making the virtual visit a productive one.
Give Your Patients the Option to Engage in Virtual Care
The COVID-19 pandemic forced virtually every industry to find touch-free ways to continue doing business, and consumers have come to expect new levels of convenience as a result.
As the pandemic slowly changes to an endemic, practices should continue using virtual care visits when they’re appropriate – it’s what healthcare consumers want no matter their age. Though many older adults will jump at the chance to go back to the doctor’s office for routine checkups, others may prefer the convenience of telehealth and opt to do the visit from the comfort of their own homes or vacation destinations.
By giving your patients the option to pursue whichever medium they prefer, you can meet patients where they are most comfortable and continue to provide the highest possible level of care.
Communicate with Patients More Frequently
For most patients, a visit to the doctor is an appointment that exists during a moment in time. In other words, healthcare is generally not an ongoing process.
One way to increase virtual care adoption at your practice is by changing the way your patients think about what’s possible in healthcare entirely. By investing in a purpose-built healthcare communication platform, for example, you can interact with your patients regularly by engaging with them directly on their mobile devices.
With the right solution in place, you can easily launch video calls and send secure texts and SMS messages to maintain open lines of communication between you and your patients. On top of this, you can also digitize all relevant healthcare forms and store patient-specific data in an easy-to-use patient portal.
Make Virtual Care a Priority at Your Practice
While virtual care continues to have a significant impact on the way we think about healthcare, there’s still a lot of room to expand and drive revenue for your practice. As the population continues to age and the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, practices need to adapt and grow to make the most out of virtual care to meet patient needs.
- Invest resources in training your patients on the technology your practice is using
- Suggest that your patients use virtual care services when appropriate
- Invest in healthcare communication tools designed to increase patient engagement
- Give your patients more control over their health data to make better lifestyle choices
- Increase virtual healthcare adoption rates at your practice and bolster your bottom line because of it