10 Ways to Make Virtual Care Visits Senior-Friendly

April 6, 2023

Virtual care visits have become a new normal for many health care patients and providers in the aftermath of the pandemic. But for some patients, adapting to the technological advancements is not so simple.

Technology is great — unless it’s a barrier.

Caitlin Brandon, MSc, project manager, Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto, talks about virtual care visits for older patients

Caitlin Brandon, MSc, project manager, Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto

We don’t have to look back very far for a good example. When COVID vaccines became available in December 2020, older adults were first in line to receive the jab. But the process of scheduling an appointment online was so complicated that many people needed help from a tech-savvier relative or friend.

Video visits are another example. When COVID was raging and vaccines weren’t available yet, older adults — the most vulnerable age group — shifted to virtual care visits whenever possible. Today, virtual visits have remained popular with all patients. But age is a factor.

According to a national survey conducted by the Office of Health Policy in 2021, looking at age comparisons only, the differences between younger digital natives and older digital immigrants is striking:

  • Among telehealth users, the highest share of visits that utilized video services occurred among young adults ages 18 to 24 (72.5 percent).
  • Video telehealth rates were lowest among adults ages 65 and older (43.5 percent).

Is the difference based on preference, now that in-person office visits are safer? Or is it because the experience of accessing and participating feels disconnected for older adults? More than half of adults over 50 are interested in telehealth, according to AARP research reported in February 2022. How can we make it a better experience so that older adults feel comfortable engaging with their physicians virtually?

For expert guidance, we listened in on a webinar presented by the Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto (RGPT), “How to Make Virtual Video Visits Senior Friendly.” Here, we share highlights of the 10 tips recommended by RGPT, presented by Caitlin Brandon, MSc, project manager.

Read our new article to learn the 10 things your health system can and should do to improve virtual care visits for older patients and set them up for success: Improving Access: Making Video Visits Senior-Friendly

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey