How Technology Is Improving Access And Empowering Older Adults To Embrace Telehealth
COVID-19 has greatly changed how we care for ourselves and has resulted in a massive change to how we connect with our doctors. Providers are seeing 50-175 times the number of patients via telehealth visits than they did before the pandemic, and Forrester predicts that virtual care visits will soar to more than 1 billion by the end of 2020, including 900 million visits related to the coronavirus.
Telehealth has great potential to increase healthcare access for everyone during the pandemic, and this is especially important for older adults and other populations at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. But, virtual visits can also be stressful for those with an aversion to using technology to speak with their doctor.
As patients who might’ve shied away from technology in the past now need to use it to connect with their doctors, it’s important for healthcare providers to ensure their telemedicine platforms are inclusive for users of all ages and levels of digital literacy.
Fortunately, there are a number of things healthcare providers can do to improve the telehealth experience for all users.
Providers need to do everything they can to make telehealth comfortable for users who aren’t confident using smartphones and computers, and this starts by developing FAQs, video tutorials and other resources to help patients understand the telehealth process, schedule an appointment, download the app and access the platform. Support can’t stop with onboarding — it’s also important to help patients troubleshoot and to offer technical support within the platform by providing a phone number and/or button patients can use to connect directly with someone who can help.
Make access as easy as possible
Omnichannel support is the best solution for making telehealth accessible to the broadest user base. Even though older Americans are increasingly drawn to new