The concept of ‘silver surfers’ is a little outdated these days. Ten years ago, the idea of elderly people surfing the web was vaguely comical, whereas recent data from the Office of National Statistics shows that internet use more than tripled for those 65 and older between 2006 to 2013.

With a growing number of tech-savvy senior citizens, the demand for digital health services is also growing. According to new research by Accenture, 27 per cent of senior citizens in England are self-tracking some aspect of their health, such as health indicators (18 per cent), weight and blood pressure, or information pertaining to their health history (11 per cent).

When asked which digital services were important to them, 77 percent said online appointment scheduling, 69 per cent said electronic reminders, 64 per cent said e-prescription refill requests and 60 per cent said online access to health records. However, Accenture’s research shows that only a third of healthcare providers currently offer such capabilities.

“Just as the older generation is turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to virtually manage certain aspects of their healthcare services,” said Aimie Chapple, managing director for Accenture’s health business in the UK.

“To meet the needs of an ageing population, health systems need to expand their digital options if they want to attract older patients and help them track and manage their care outside their doctor’s office.”

“As a growing number of older people are digitally-engaged, healthcare systems need to consider the role the internet can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point,” Chapple added.

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