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Seniors and health technology

Are older adults comfortable with online doctors' appointments?

Article Author: Beth Stambaugh

Article Date:

senior aged woman in her kitchen, using a tablet for a virtual appointment with a doctor

If the idea of seniors using technology seems unlikely, it’s time to think again. The reality is that the majority of people over 65 use technology on a daily basis. Approximately 70% of seniors are online regularly to get news, shop and make travel plans, according to Pew Research Center.

It’s not surprising, then, that older adults are turning to technology for their health. Many have warmed up to the idea of telehealth “virtual” doctor visits, especially during the COVID-19 crisis when many seniors are staying home as much as possible.

Virtual visits allow patients to see their doctor face-to-face by using the video camera on their phone, tablet or computer from the safety and comfort of home. At Baptist Health, patients (of all ages) can get routine wellness checks, diagnoses for illness or injuries, help managing pre-existing conditions, and prescriptions when needed. Most specialists, from cardiologists to ENT physicians, offer virtual visits as well.

David Spaulding, 72, is a patient at Baptist AgeWell, which provides enriched primary care for those who are 65 and over. He has been with the program for 3-1/2 years and has had four virtual doctor’s appointments recently.

“I was a little concerned at first about how telehealth technology would work,” Spaulding said. “But it was pretty simple. AgeWell sent me an email with a link to the appointment. I clicked on the link and it connected me to the Zoom [videoconferencing] program. The video was clear and I could hear everything easily.”

AgeWell has had good success with patients acclimating to the technology and helps patients and their caregivers navigate through the steps and troubleshoot any possible issues. “It’s gotten easier each time I’ve used it,” Spaulding said.

Spaulding’s first appointment was an introduction to his doctor, Vanessa Seiglie, MD, a new geriatrician at AgeWell, to go over his medical history and get to know each other.

“It’s been really rewarding to offer virtual visits as a way to be here for our patients who don’t want to leave home,” said Dr. Seiglie.  “Virtual visits are an excellent option for patients to get the care they need safely, since delaying appointments can lead to health problems down the road,” she said. Dr. Seiglie said her patients have been increasingly open-minded to telehealth appointments.

“I am glad my health wasn’t put on hold,” said Spaulding. “I was able to get good, quality medical care and follow-up without having to leave home.”

Baptist Health specialists and primary care physicians offer virtual visits. For more details about how to make a telehealth appointment, go to Virtual Visits or call 904-202-4YOU.

To learn more about Baptist AgeWell, visit 
baptistjax.com/agewell. In addition to primary care, AgeWell also provides medication management, speech therapy, physical therapy, psychiatry, bladder health and programs to improve cognition. 

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