A recent article by Rock Health highlighted the importance of digital health platforms for older adults. The article advocated for use of digital health technologies for older adults, stating that the healthcare system is not designed to meet the needs of the increasing population of older adults. Older adults suffer from high rates of physical and mental health issues, correlated with loneliness, and men 85 years and older have the highest suicide rate of any age group.
The authors reported that a combination of in-person connection and digital healthcare will be the most effective strategy for providing healthcare to older adults in the U.S., while also emphasizing the importance of tools to combat loneliness by building connections and community. Additionally, with health care literacy lower among older adults (29% have below basic health care literacy compared to 10-13% seen in other age groups), the article emphasized how digital platforms can help close the literacy gap between younger and older Americans. The article also shed awareness on rural communities, who have fewer specialists and less access to health care centers (e.g., stroke and cardiac rehabilitation centers).
As UX/UI design principles differ across age groups, and with most apps currently designed for younger adults, the authors challenged the digital healthcare industry to design applications that fit the needs of older adults.