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Boomers and Health Technology

By February 2, 2011Commentary

The Enterprise Forum Northwest issued a report on boomers and health care, based on interviews with more than 50 thought leaders.  (MITEF Report) The report’s thesis is that aging boomers will drive technology innovation in health care.  The report notes, as many others have, that the boomer generation is the first aging cohort that is comfortable with a variety of technologies and with their use in health care and that the group as a whole has significant spending power that they are willing to use on health and well-being.

The report identified five key attributes of boomers and technology.  The first was that most use online services frequently, including gathering health information and using that information to make decisions about their own care.  Related to that is that this cohort will accept, if not demand, a shift to a patient-centric care model, where the patient is more involved in decisions and self-care.   All the data that will be created from new devices and the sharing of previously siloed information will create opportunities for vendors of products that help make sense of the data.

The report also notes, however, that actually seeing behavioral change will require more than technology, it will need incentives and social support.  All these technologies and trends create a sizable market opportunity, but one that is potentially confused by uncertainty over basic things like who will pay, and if it is the consumer, how much will they really spend out-of-pocket without a strong perception of value.  There may be other issues about regulation, privacy and security.

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