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Research Letter
August 2, 2016

Trends in Seniors’ Use of Digital Health Technology in the United States, 2011-2014

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2016;316(5):538-540. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.9124

The sickest, most expensive, and fastest growing segment of the US population are seniors 65 years and older.1 Digital health technology has been advocated as a solution to improve health care quality, cost, and safety. However, little is known about digital health use among seniors.

The Partners HealthCare Human Research Committee exempted this study from review. The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) is an annual in-home, computer-assisted, longitudinal, nationally representative survey of community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older drawn from the Medicare enrollment database through a complex sampling design.2 Each year, NHATS asks the same respondents about everyday (nonhealth) technology use and 4 digital health modalities: use of the internet to fill prescriptions, contact a clinician, address insurance matters, and research health conditions.

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