Older Adults Bypassed on Health Tech

Health apps have significant potential to help people age positively, remaining active, productive, independent and socially connected. However, according to a new report by researchers at the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps, Orcha, GPs recommend NHS approved health apps to only one in 25 patients over 55 and just one in 50 to patients over 65, compared to about one in ten aged under 35. Furthermore, 55 per cent of over 55s would be happy to try using a health app, designed to help patients manage their conditions, if it was recommended, while nine in ten over 55s and eight in ten over 65s who had used a health app felt satisfied or very satisfied with the experience.

Helen Hughes, Chief Executive of the charity Patient Safety Learning, told The Daily Telegraph that doctors who failed to recommend health apps to older patients were making ageist assumptions about older people’s technological ability. “Plenty of older people are tech savvy -or at least willing to learn – and will really benefit from being able to manage their health from home.”

Personally, I am not convinced this is a case of ageism. More likely inaccurate assumptions concerning the technical literacy and appetite of older adults. Beyond apps and smart devices that can monitor and automate, we will be looking at the creation of environments that are able to analyse context-rich data, which will help in monitoring anything from serious underlying health conditions to general fitness in home occupants.

Article adapted from Agile Ageing Alliance Founder, Ian Spero's LinkedIn profile.