Medicare Beneficiaries Prefer Phone Calls When Signing Up for Medicare
Researchers in the healthcare field have been working diligently in finding ways to bridge the gap between seniors and the rise of digital engagement. Innovative technologies are globally on the rise, and the healthcare industry is not exempt.
Healthmine recently conducted a survey to find out what form of communication medicare beneficiaries prefer. Unsurprisingly, the majority reported that they would rather receive a phone call about their healthcare plan as opposed to any form of digital communication.
It is up to us to expand on why they prefer phone calls as their main method of data exchanges, and how we can properly introduce them to the world of digital engagement.
The 65+ Demographic Feels That Phone Calls Deliver More Information
According to a study done by EHR Intelligence, 33% of patients don’t even know that they have access to a healthcare portal for their medical and health insurance information, and this statistic doesn’t exclude seniors.
Many seniors have reported that they feel as though their healthcare information is much better delivered through a phone call. A lot of them feel that the information available to them on portal platforms is not able to effectively answer all of their medical-related questions.
The Washington post recently asked seniors to deliberate as to why they prefer phone communication, and they explained how they felt that they fear digital communication will eventually overpower traditional phone calls.
Many seniors are already struggling with the fact that their millennial family members prefer texting and e-mail as their main means of communications. They don’t want the same result to happen within their own generation.
Miscommunication Regarding Portals Is Partially to Blame
Even with most seniors preferring phone communications, many claim that they would participate in a healthcare portal if they knew more about it.
Portals are very common within the millennial generation due to them feeling like they have the ultimate access to their patient and insurance information, but seniors tend to feel left out.
There is a huge healthcare barrier in terms of seniors having access to the tools and resources they need to learn more about healthcare portals and how to navigate them.
If seniors had the ability to access their Medicare information without there being a large obstacle to do so, then many more individuals 65 years and older would participate.
With Medicare being an insurance option primarily for seniors, there needs to be an avenue for them to explore where they can offer beneficiaries a more guided experience.
If individuals 65 and older had access to more up-to-date knowledge surrounding digital communications, then they would be much more likely to take part. This could be done in many forms such as instructional classes, or providing them with an in-depth guide as to how to access portals and text alerts.
Texting Is Also a Grey Area for Seniors in Healthcare
Seniors are now texting at an all-time high, with 94% of them sending texts on a weekly basis. Although our seniors are becoming more text savvy, they still don’t prefer it in terms of handling their healthcare communications.
This includes correspondence surrounding their Medicare plans. Text reminders used for appointment and medication reminders have proven to be successful, but seniors still aren’t enjoying the change.
It is also important to address the fact that many text messages and e-mails aren’t seen by the addressee, especially when it isn’t their primary method of communication. While more and more people 65 and up are adapting to text messaging as a form of engagement, they still feel as though it lacks the personable component that they prefer.
How Do We Mend This Barrier?
Even with the reluctance of seniors joining in on digital engagement, the influx of modern technology is still going to persistently grow. It is the job of insurance companies and physician offices to help bridge the gap between seniors and technological advancements in the medical community.
Ryan Sparks of Nexus Health Resources has presented the idea of putting a call center in place in order to help alert seniors of new digital advancements. If Medicare beneficiaries were consistently called when new advancements arrive, and guided through utilizing them, we may see an increase in adaptability.
We have been leaving senior patients out of the loop for too long, and it is imperative to bridge this gap by reaching out initially in ways that they prefer. By starting the process of familiarizing them with these digital tools over the phone, we may end up seeing much more promising results.
Medicare beneficiaries may be showing that they do not currently prefer digital engagement, but with education and dedication, this is sure to change.
Seniors have proven to be very open when it comes to adapting to new forms of technology, and this is sure to be true in terms of the healthcare world as well. By providing beneficiaries with the proper tools and referring them to helpful resources, we should see a dramatic increase in how many prefer digital engagement.
Healthcare portals, e-mail, and text messaging provide patients with a much more in-depth look at their medical care. It is vital for us to not leave seniors out of this loop of valuable information by providing them with the skills and tools that they need.