Baby boomers' adoption of consumer health technologies: survey on readiness and barriers.J Med Internet Res. 2014 Sep 08; 16(9):e200.JM
As they age, baby boomers (born 1946-1964) will have increasing medical needs and are likely to place large demand on health care resources. Consumer health technologies may help stem rising health care needs and costs by improving provider-to-patient communication, health monitoring, and information access and enabling self-care. Research has not explored the degree to which baby boomers are ready for, or are currently embracing, specific consumer health technologies This study explores how baby boomers' readiness to use various technologies for health purposes compares to other segments of the adult population.
The goals of the study are to (1) examine what technologies baby boomers are ready to use for health purposes, (2) investigate barriers to baby boomers' use of technology for health purposes, and (3) understand whether readiness for and barriers to baby boomers' use of consumer health technologies differ from those of other younger and older consumers.
Data were collected via a survey offered to a random sample of 3000 subscribers to a large pharmacy benefit management company. Respondents had the option to complete the survey online or by completing a paper-based version of the survey.
Data from 469 respondents (response rate 15.63%) were analyzed, including 258 baby boomers (aged 46-64 years), 72 younger (aged 18-45 years), and 139 older (age >64 years) participants. Baby boomers were found to be similar to the younger age group, but significantly more likely than the older age group to be ready to use 5 technologies for health purposes (health information websites, email, automated call centers, medical video conferencing, and texting). Baby boomers were less ready than the younger age group to adopt podcasts, kiosks, smartphones, blogs, and wikis for health care purposes. However, baby boomers were more likely than older adults to use smartphones and podcasts for health care purposes. Specific adoption barriers vary according to the technology.
Baby boomers have commonalities with and distinctions from both younger and older adults in their readiness to adopt specific consumer health technologies and the barriers they experience to adoption. Baby boomers' nuances regarding readiness to adopt and the barriers associated with the various forms of consumer health technology should be taken into account by those interested in promoting consumer health technologies use among baby boomers when developing applications, choosing technologies, preparing users for use, and in promotional tactics.