More Singapore seniors seeking digital tools to manage health: Survey

PHOTO: More Singapore seniors seeking digital tools to manage health: Survey

SINGAPORE - A new survey shows that while Singapore seniors want more access to technology that helps them meet their healthcare needs, only half of Singapore healthcare providers offer such capabilities.

The study, conducted by global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture, surveyed 9,015 adults across nine countries - including 134 from Singapore.

Where relevant, these findings were compared to Accenture's 2013 Healthcare Consumer Research and Doctors Survey.

The study noted that seniors in Singapore are increasingly becoming active online users, as documented by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). The study quoted 2012 statistics by IDA showing that one in five citizens aged 65 and older engage in regular Internet use. 

More than 70 per cent of Singapore seniors are seeking digital options for managing their health services remotely - such as a desire for electronic reminders (80 per cent) and online appointment scheduling (83 per cent).

Among the nine countries surveyed, the research showed roughly two in five seniors in Singapore are actively self-tracking their health indicators, such as their weight, blood pressure, medical symptoms and personal health history.

Nearly 80 per cent indicated that it's important to have online access to their health information. However, only 39 per cent said they currently have access to their records compared to one in five in the nine other countries surveyed.

Similarly, 73 per cent said it's important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, but only 17 per cent say they can do so today. More than half indicated a desire to be able to email healthcare providers, but only 16 per cent say they currently have that capability.

"Just as seniors are turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to virtually manage aspects of their healthcare services online," said Corissa Leung, Accenture's managing director for the ASEAN Health Industry.

"What this means is that health systems need to expand their digital options to help their patients track and manage their care outside their doctor's office."