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Research Letter |

Trends in Seniors’ Use of Digital Health Technology in the United States, 2011-2014

David M. Levine, MD, MA1; Stuart R. Lipsitz, ScD1; Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, FACP1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2016;316(5):538-540. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.9124.
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This national survey study characterizes trends in use of technology and digital health care services among Medicare beneficiaries between 2011 and 2014.

The sickest, most expensive, and fastest growing segment of the US population are seniors 65 years and older.1 Digital health technology has been advocated as a solution to improve health care quality, cost, and safety. However, little is known about digital health use among seniors.

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Changes in US Seniors’ Technology Use, 2011-2014

The y-axis scale shown in blue indicates range from 0% to 20%. Tablet and social network sites questions were asked only in 2013 through 2014. Error bars indicate 95% CIs of the weighted percentages. P values for trends: cell phone (.17), computer (.11), internet and online for any other reason (<.001), email and texting (<.001), internet banking (<.001), tablet (<.001), social network sites (.006), internet shopping (.003), obtain health condition information (.002), fill prescriptions (<.001), contact a clinician (<.001), and handle insurance matters (.065). Cumulative attrition between 2011 and 2014 was due to death (n = 1430) and loss to follow-up (n = 1824).

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