Most healthcare organizations are trying to play catch up with digitally savvy younger generations. In that process, their aging, but loyal customers are ignored. It is important for companies to recognize the growing senior population as well as people’s digital networks. The healthcare companies need to adapt their digital strategy to the changing demographics, especially tech savvy seniors.
Over the next 5 years between 2014 and 2018, an estimated 40% rise in senior population is expected across most states in the United States. During the subsequent 5 years, an additional 40% growth is expected. Based on research conducted by pewinternet.org, an average of 70% of younger and older boomers are getting their health information from the internet through digital technologies such as web, mobile, and tablets. In this article, we cover how healthcare insurance payers can prepare themselves for the changing demographics and get more value from their digital and information technology (IT) investments. Our methodology and techniques have been proven to get the expected results.
Is it really true that the seniors are using internet for health information?
Based on study by Pew Internet & American Life Project, 63% of the silent generation, age (66-74) are already using the internet for health information. While these numbers represent the present, we believe that the projected access to healthcare information via digital technologies will reach 75% over the next 5 years due to access to digital technologies and innovations in the technology industry.
3 Steps to adapting to tech-savvy seniors:
1. Understand changing demographics in your state
- It is critical to understand the changing demographics in your state. By understanding the population demographic dimension of your state, solutions can be future proofed from this dimension.
- As an example, the Digital Strategy Yoga™ team’s analysis showed that the number of seniors in New Jersey over the next 5 years is expected to grow by half a million to 1.6 million. By 2023, a total of 2.17 million seniors will be present in the state of New Jersey. That is a change of 95% in the senior population.
- The statistical numbers can further be classified into other dimensions such as age, of seniors in New Jersey over the next 5 years is expected to grow by half a million to 1.6 million. By 2023, a total of 2.17 million seniors will be present in the state of New Jersey. That is a change of 95% in the senior population.gender, health conditions, language, nativity and education levels. Having a high level understanding of these dimensions can help as you think through the options and considerations for your business plan.
- If you are a healthcare company and need information on demographic changes in your state, please contact us.
2. Business area considerations for seniors
There are three areas to consider to ensure that you can prepare your organization.
Product & Marketing content:
Are your products senior friendly? We need to remember that seniors need simplified way of remembering what is covered in their healthcare plan. Product managers need to visualize their products for simplicity. One of our clients even took the product page display on the website to his parents and requested them to review the product pages. After 15 minutes of usage and feedback, the team went back to the drawing board.
The Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) helps set base standards for product and service explanations. These are base standards, but they still may not be senior-friendly. We recommend that organizations have a team focused on validating content for senior friendliness.
Make your process senior friendly. When defining the core processes for sales, marketing, customer service, and medical management, most organizations focus on their internal processes and consequently do not think about how the consumer is going to interact with the process. This is the primary reason for low customer adoption. Visualize the digital processes from the eyes of the end-users. Is the process timely or is a user going to get anxious and call the customer service department? We are fans of the “Domino Pizza Tracker” not only because of its “cool” factor, but the innovation in end-user thinking. Imagine the hungry kid on the other side, eagerly awaiting the delivery of the pizza, clicking the refresh button, and checking the door and excited when he sees online that the car has left for delivery. It is not any different in healthcare. The healthcare industry is lagging behind in customer friendly processes and hence, trailing in digital innovation. It is extremely personal and most organizations in healthcare need to redefine their processes to be customer friendly.
3. Information Technology and Usability Considerations
The two additional areas for considerations to make your organization support the growing
senior population are the IT department and usability teams.
While selecting technology, most organizations use multiple evaluation criteria such as functional requirements, non-functional requirements, software compatibility, hardware platforms, etc. However, one criterion that is usually left out is the future-proofing of the solution, in consideration of aging demographics. Considerations need to be given if the software is to be usable in 3 to 5 years by the same band of users that use the software now. Many internal-facing interfaces of software solutions do not follow usability standards and therefore become unusable over time. When selecting the technology, ensure that all user interfaces (both internal and external) are designed to keep up with the age band of the end-users.
The Neilson Norman Group research study finds that current websites still discriminate against seniors. By embracing web design that is more suited for older users, sites can vastly expand the amount of business they generate from this population. Most organizations use the phrase “customer 360” for their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution. We recommend that organizations think “Usability 360” in their usability considerations of their digital presence. Usability 360 helps maximize the potential of your digital presence by adjusting the design to suit the age band of the users. Whether it is social media, mobile or web, think usability 360. Most senior friendly sites are also used by their children usually around 30 – 45 years old. If design preferences are captured, engagement of the customer with your business via digital technologies will increase.
To summarize, 3 important factors need to be considered in supporting tech-savvy seniors.
1. Understand the senior demographics for your business.
2. Ensure senior friendliness of your product, content, and process.
3. Add age-band criteria to your technology and usability considerations.
About our Company:
Digital strategy Yoga LLC is a strategy and solutions company that uses Digital Strategy Yoga™ framework to build digital transformation strategies for enterprises. We help our clients reimagine and reinvent their business models for the new digital age. For more information, click here.