TELEHEALTH: OLDER ADULTS INCREASINGLY FIND VIRTUAL VISITS SAME AS IN-PERSON

From the John A. Hartford Foundation:

While the benefits of telehealth are myriad and more apparent than ever, our survey revealed that 41% of older adults did not see telehealth as living up to the in-person experience. Providers must optimize the technology so that it caters to the less tech-savvy patient and caregivers—especially, if it is their only means of accessing health care—so that it replicates the in-person visit as close as possible. 

survey we recently conducted shows that more than half of US adults age 70 and older (55%) experienced a disruption in their medical care during the first month of social distancing due to COVID-19. These older adults were most likely to delay primary or preventive care, and that’s alarming. Even more worrying, 15% of older adults put off essential medical treatment because of the pandemic. We don’t need medical degrees to know that delaying necessary care does not make the outcomes better.

As older adults continue to delay getting needed care, the problem will compound—increasing pent-up demand for services will ultimately vex health systems as patients’ conditions worsen. We think about the 4Ms of age-friendly care – what Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility – and how the pandemic may be delaying the assessments and interventions needed to prevent medication errors or to preserve cognitive and functional status.

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