As Baby boomers transition into their 50s and 60s, a once complacent segment of the healthcare market is taking matters into its own hands.
According to David Dierk, president of Pinnacle Health Communications and The American System for Advancing Senior Health, “seniors have said specifically that they are challenged to find healthcare information and physicians for senior-specific [issues].” Dierk cited a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as proof of the unmet geriatric needs. “The IOM published a report with basically three primary messages: if our system doesn't change in light of the burgeoning baby boom, we're in trouble; physicians are ill-trained in senior health; and consumers are better informed on senior specific issues.”
Providing better care for seniors carries a financial incentive under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid's 2008 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, that provides a payment of 1.5% of a physician's total charges for Physician Fee Schedule covered services, noted Dierk. Consumers benefit as well.
“Seniors have the highest rate [30%] of avoidable hospitalization and prescription misadventures,” said Dierk. “Health professionals don't have the right information.”
Seniors are also much less trustful than other groups of commercial data, according to Dierk.