Dispelling a Myth: Age is a Barrier to Texting
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
When speaking with prospective clients about our two-way texting platform, a question we are often asked is, "How does your platform help our older patients since they don't typically text?" This is a common myth we hear a lot. While it's true that not all people text, text messaging is used by people of all ages.
Here are just a few statistics and quotes that show why texting is likely to be a viable and effective method of communicating with many older patients.
1. 95% of U.S. adults ages 50-64 own a cellphone, with 79% owning a smartphone. Source: Pew Research Center
2. 91% of U.S. adults 65 and older own a cellphone, with 53% owning a smartphone. Source: Pew Research Center
3. Among those ages 50-69, text messaging is the technology tool most used to stay connected. Source: AARP
4. "… notably, the assumption that older individuals rely less on technology than others may be increasingly inaccurate." Source: AARP
5. 58 million adults age 50-plus are interested in technology that can enrich their lives or make it easier. Source: AARP
6. "Text messaging technology can help improve medication adherence rates in older Medicare patients by up to 14%." Source: Patient Engagement HIT coverage of Journal of Medical Internet Research study
7. "When asked how they would like to be reminded about upcoming appointments, 48% of [14,000 survey] respondents said they prefer text message. That's compared with 29% who said they prefer a phone call and 21% who prefer an email reminder. The percentage of patients who preferred appointment-reminder text messages hovered close to the 50% mark across age groups … 54% among those ages 45-54, and 47% among respondents ages 55-64. Thirty-four percent of patients age 65 and older … said they prefer text message appointment reminders, an especially important data point since these older patients are often assumed to be less likely to embrace technology." Source: Phreesia
The Truth: Older People Text. A Lot.
A text messaging platform like Dialog Health is not intended to replace all other communication methods. Rather, it helps reduce reliance on more time-consuming methods while improving response rate and engagement, amongst other benefits.
Organizations should communicate with patients via the method(s) that patients prefer. For some, that will be via email, phone or mail. But for most, including many of those who are older, texting is likely to be the method of choice.