Video telephony not only replaces many business trips in the Corona crisis, but is also increasingly being discovered by older people in Germany. Four out of ten online users aged 65 and over now use them, compared with just 31 percent at the beginning of the year. This is the result of a representative survey by the digital industry association Bitkom, which was published in Berlin on Tuesday.
Deep divide between users and non-users
However, the proportion of older Internet users overall has hardly changed within this year despite the crisis: One in two people aged 65 and older are still online (July: 49 percent, January: 48 percent). By comparison, in 2014, it was only 38 percent. "Digital technologies have held up in many areas during the Corona pandemic", said Bitkom President Achim Berg. "However, seniors still find it difficult to take the step into new digital territory – more help is needed."
However, according to the survey, the majority of people over 65 who are online say: "I can no longer imagine life without the Internet". 62 percent of online users agree with this statement. In January, this was only 56 percent. "Those who use the net are very tech-savvy, very interested and also see the benefits. But we also have a chasm between users and non-users that is very deep", Berg said.
The greater emphasis on health ies has helped overcome the stagnation in Internet use. 38 percent of online users aged 65 and over now have reminders for doctor’s appointments sent to them by text message or e-mail, and another 53 percent could imagine doing so. 37 percent already make such appointments online today. One in five communicates digitally with their doctor – by e-mail (21 percent) or messenger (19 percent).
Rough interest in e-health
However, the numbers are significantly lower for more complex e-health applications: Today, only six percent of online senior citizens use telemedical monitoring. However, Bitkom still sees rough potential here. Half of respondents said they would do this in the future.
Digital health services, which will only be available in the coming years, also attracted rough interest from older Internet users, according to the survey. More than one in two (53 percent) can imagine using the electronic patient file, 40 percent the e-prescription. "Digitization in health care can improve medical care and significantly reduce the risk of infection for the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to corona", said Berg. "Many seniors show impressive openness to digital health solutions."
In the wake of the Corona pandemic, the image of digitization has changed for many older people. Two out of five seniors (40 percent) say they are more positive about digitization since then. One quarter (23 percent), on the other hand, view digitization more negatively.