Press Releases May 18, 2020

Oak Street Health Survey Reveals Increase in Seniors’ Technology Use During COVID-19 Pandemic, Opportunity for Telehealth Innovation and Education Moving Forward

CHICAGO, IL — May, 18 2020 — Oak Street Health, a network of primary care centers that delivers value-based care to adults on Medicare, today shared the results of its survey aimed at understanding the adoption and reliance on technology by seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll, which targeted 1,000 adults in the U.S. ages 65 years and older, reveals that seniors have become more tech-savvy as a result of the pandemic, presenting an opportunity for healthcare professionals to provide increased virtual healthcare services. 

We’ve known that the healthcare industry needed to implement telehealth services more broadly, and the pandemic has been a catalyst to accelerate this tech innovation,” said Dr. Michele Mitchell, Senior Medical Director for Oak Street Health. At the beginning of the stay-at-home orders, Oak Street Health pivoted more than 90 percent of our care delivery to telehealth – over phone and video – in less than two weeks to ensure both patient safety and continuity of high-quality, preventive care.”

Findings from the survey showed that:

  • Seniors are staying connected by adopting and embracing more technology. Nearly seven in every 10 seniors surveyed report they have increased their use of technology (e.g. computer, smartphone, video chat, text messaging, etc.) in order to keep in touch with family and/​or friends.
  • Even while isolated, seniors are staying connected. More than 80% of seniors surveyed report that their communication with family and/​or friends has increased since social distancing guidelines have been put in place.
  • Increased adoption of video communications have made seniors more tech proficient. More than half of seniors (55%) surveyed feel more comfortable with video chat applications (e.g., Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and/​or other video technology) than they did before the pandemic. This means, however, there is still opportunity to increase comfort with technology as seniors use it more frequently. 

The Oak Street Health team has made regular adjustments to its telehealth offerings in order to ensure ease-of-use and satisfaction for patients while delivering an unmatched patient experience and high quality of care.

Patience is key in the transition to telehealth — it’s a learning curve for both patients and providers. There is no doubt telehealth visits will be part of our new normal even as stay-at-home orders lift, so it’s important to take the time now to get seniors comfortable with these visits,” said Dr. Mitchell. We’ve already seen our patients become more confident with the technology, and as our care teams continue to educate them, especially on the video visits, they reap the benefits of safe, face-to-face care.”

To learn more about Oak Street Health, including its telehealth appointments, visit www.oakstreethealth.com.

About Oak Street Health

Founded in 2012, Oak Street Health is a fast-growing network of value-based, primary care centers for adults on Medicare. With a mission of rebuilding healthcare as it should be, the company operates an innovative healthcare model focused on quality of care over volume of services, and assumes the full financial risk of its patients.
Oak Street Health currently operates more than 50 centers across Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Tennessee, with plans to continue its geographic expansion, including into Texas, in 2020. To learn more about Oak Street Health’s proven approach to care, visit oakstreethealth.com

Media Contact:
Erica Frank, Vice President of Public Relations
Oak Street Health
Erica.Frank@oakstreethealth.com