Almost two-thirds (61%) of Quebecers aged 65 and over now use the Internet for healthcare purposes, according to a survey by Université de Laval’s Académie de la transformation numérique. The survey indicates an increase of 17 percentage points compared to the previous year and 30 percentage points since 2019.
In 2021, 54% of Quebec seniors used the Internet to make an appointment with a health professional to obtain an emergency medical consultation, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or meet with their family doctor, optometrist or dentist, a marked increase of 28% over 2020. They were also more likely, from 21% in 2020 to 31% in 2021, to fill a prescription or refill prescription drugs on their pharmacy’s website or mobile app. Almost one in five seniors (18%) used the Internet to conduct an online consultation with a healthcare professional such as a doctor, pharmacist or psychologist.
The survey of 729 seniors in March, July and August of 2021 online in addition to non-net users via telephone, and across 16 regions of Quebec, reveals that just over a quarter (26%) of senior Quebec Internet users with a smartphone or electronic tablet use mobile applications to track their health and wellness online. The top four health and wellness aspects followed through mobile apps being physical activity (32%), medication (26%), sleep (24%) and cardiovascular or respiratory health (20%).
Although the laptop or desktop (80%) is still the preferred electronic device Quebec seniors, the smart phone (62%) exceeded the tablet in popularity (58%) compared to 2020, with an increase of 12 percentage points. The smart watch or connected activity bracelet has grown from 9% to 13%.
The survey reported that 92% of Quebec seniors now have at least one of the electronic devices evaluated (laptop or desktop computer, smartphone, tablet and smart watch or connected activity bracelet), an increase of 8 percentage points from the previous year (84%). The percentage of Quebec seniors with an Internet connection at home rose from 82% in 2020 to 85% in 2021 says the director of business intelligence and marketing research at ATN, Claire Bourget. “Our data shows a significant increase in the rate of Internet connection at home among seniors with elementary or secondary education. Their Internet connection rate has increased by 20 percentage points in one year, from 62% to 82%.”
In 2021, two-thirds (67%) of seniors in Quebec used the Internet several times a day, which represents an increase of 4 percentage points in one year, and 72% aged 65 to 74 browse the Internet several times a day, while this percentage is only 52% among seniors aged 75 and over.