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Boomers Willing to Pay for Technology That Allows Parents More Independence

Baby boomers would spend up to $100 each month on technology to ensure healthier living and independence as they age.

In a series of focus groups with people age 50-65, the Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) found that most participants would be willing to pay $50 each month for electronic monitoring technologies such as medication reminders to enable their aging parents and themselves to live independently in the community. About half of the participants said they would pay $100 per month. In addition, participants were extremely interested in owning a device that maintained their medical records and provided them with control over this information.

The focus group results were presented at the Healthcare Unbound conference by Kari Miner-Olson, chief information officer of Front Porch and leader of the CAST research team that conducted the focus groups.

"These findings should be a wake up call for technology corporations, who are missing a tremendous potential market for services," Miner said. "Every seven seconds a Baby Boomer turns 50. The need for technologies to help these individuals age in place, on their terms, is tremendous.

Some of the study's other key findings include:

"Improvements in technology for the aging could not only improve their quality of care and life, but also reduce our nation's ever-growing healthcare costs," said Helen Higgins, Business Development Manager of Hewlett-Packard and co-chair of the research group. "In particular, electronic medical records can provide a foundation for transforming how health care and aging services are delivered in the U.S."

After completing the study, researchers recommend that companies, federal researchers, policy makers and consumers investigate the role technology can play in improving efficiency and effectiveness in the health care field.

"There is tremendous opportunity for public policy to help move important innovations to the marketplace," said Russell Bodoff, executive director of CAST. "Recent legislative and Administration initiatives are a start, but we look forward to helping to achieve a bold agenda that will revolutionize options for seniors."

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