Now more than ever, older people are embracing smart and social technology. A report by Ofcom showed that a quarter of over 75s are using tablet computers, up 12% in a year, and half of baby boomers who use the internet have a social media profile (ages 65 -74).
But there’s more to do; the report also stated that 20% of people over 65 describe themselves as “not confident” online. At Babylon, our mission is to provide accessible and affordable healthcare to everyone on earth. To do this we’ve created a digital healthcare service that gives people 24/7 access to a clinician and digital tools backed by artificial intelligence, such as our Healthcheck, Monitor and our Mood Tracker. We are determined to make sure everyone, including older people, can confidently access these services.
Joined up and digital-first healthcare
Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with the Royal Wolverhampton Trust, to provide truly integrated primary and secondary healthcare, which gave us a chance to talk to patients of the hospital trust about what health technology could mean for their care. We met one patient called Mia, a full-time carer of her 99-year-old father who is visually impaired. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she found managing her own care difficult. Every doctor and hospital appointment took several hours out of her day. She had to drive to the hospital, park, wait for appointments and get home. Not only did this put her out-of-pocket, but she also had the added stress of needing to arrange care for her father whilst she travelled to appointments. Mia was excited about Babylon’s technology; being able to speak to doctors or nurses on her phone, with all her medical information in one place, which would make managing her own healthcare needs a lot easier.
Assistive features of our app
At Babylon, we want to make sure older people feel able and confident using our healthcare technology. Our digital-first healthcare services can be helpful for patients of all ages with limited mobility, caring responsibilities or other reasons which make it difficult for patients to come to the clinic for all their appointments. Up to 80% of our patients’ appointments can be safely done with a digital appointment. For older people who aren’t as comfortable on their phone, many of our services, such as digital appointments and our Symptom Checker, can also be accessed on our website. Patients are able to play their digital consultations back on their phone as well as read the clinician’s notes, so they don’t have to think back to remember exactly what was said; something everyone struggles with in the midst of an illness.
Supporting carers and those with complex healthcare needs
To support our Babylon GP at Hand patients who are carers for loved ones, we have a Carers Champion and offer carers health checks. Carers can also help the people they care for to register with us and be there for consultations. Babylon GP at Hand is working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly GP Practice and even has a Care Coordination Team to help coordinate the care of patients with complex physical and mental healthcare and social care needs.
When we say we want to put accessible, affordable care in the hands of every person on earth, we mean everyone.
If you would like to join our Patient Participation Group to feedback and get updates about this or any other aspect of our UK GP services get in touch at [email protected]
Ofcom, Adults' media use and attitudes, 2017
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.