Why Your Older Patients Are Used to Technology Now

COVID-19 has rocked our world—from how we work to how we access healthcare to how we connect with each other. Recent research found that during the coronavirus pandemic, video chatting apps and social media website usage spiked significantly, in some cases up to 80%! What does that mean for older patients? Well, they probably are not as technologically disconnected as you might think. 

How COVID-19 has changed tech literacy 

Adults over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of health complications from the COVID-19 virus. For many, this means that quarantine has been a time of physical isolation, even from their families. In the face of this reality, many seniors have turned to improving their tech literacy. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, surveys showed that over 67% of seniors had computer access, but that only one in four felt completely comfortable using technology. As the digital platform Senior Planet began making inquiries into what seniors needed help with, they found the most common new requests to be Zoom tutorials and instructions for accessing telemedicine. 

Meeting your patients where they are: online 

From FaceTiming grandkids to ordering groceries online, many seniors have increased their use of technology during the coronavirus pandemic. What does this mean for your ASC? 

First, think through how you can be more creative with your technology. Sending emails is a great first step—but it shouldn’t stop there. Sending video instructions can be helpful as well. From pre-op instructions to a step-by-step video explaining your new COVID-19 protocols, videos can be an excellent way to help your senior patients feel more connected. You may even consider creating a video of your new waiting room so that patients know how your layout and processes have changed when they show up for their surgery. 

Second, continue to rely on technology for pre-op paperwork. Moving your health history forms online can be a significant time-saver, especially if the patient’s answers integrate directly into their medical record. In post-COVID-19 times, online pre-admissions paperwork is also a safer strategy for screening patients even before they step foot in your surgery center. 

 Lastly, while many seniors are engaging with technology more than they ever have before, different methods of communication will still work best for different personalities. Use a mix of video messages, emails, and text reminders to communicate all pertinent information. Chances are, more of your patients are online than ever before! 

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