Tailored Digital Health Solutions: Addressing Usage Disparities Among Elderly Koreans

A recent South Korean study, involving researchers from Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Silvia Health, and WELT Corp., explores the divergent use and satisfaction levels of healthcare apps and wearable devices among older Koreans. Published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science, the research is the first to compare digital health tech utilization between frail and healthy seniors. Surveying 505 respondents, where 30% were considered frail, all smartphone users faced challenges managing apps. While 25% used healthcare apps, primarily healthy seniors, frail seniors found them valuable for healthcare information. Only 36 respondents used wearables, with healthier users expressing more convenience than their frail counterparts, who favored wearables for emergency decisions.

With South Korea's aging population reaching 20% in 2023, the study underscores the need for tailored digital health solutions. Identifying specific needs and expectations among older adults is crucial, as highlighted by the researchers. They stress the importance of customizing services in developing digital devices for pre-frail and frail older adults, recognizing the potential to enhance health outcomes in this demographic. The findings emphasize the urgency for targeted digital health technologies as South Korea navigates its aging population dynamics.

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