mHealth for Seniors is Voice Not Text and Is Worth Paying For

Neil Versel has a really great article over on Mobi Health News. It feels a bit like a pitch for a company, but within the article the company makes two observations that every mobile health person should take not of. The first comment is about seniors need for voice instead of text on their mobile:

The average user of GreatCall products and services is 68 years old, according to Pantalone, so the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company wants to keep its apps simple. Jitterbug phones, with large buttons and uncluttered screen displays, “are terrible for texting because you have to triple tap, and seniors don’t want that anyway,” Pantalone said.

Pantalone said that 80 percent of seniors’ activity on cell phones is making or receiving calls, not texting, browsing the Web or running smartphone apps. That’s pretty much opposite the trend for younger generations, so GreatCall’s services are mostly voice-to-voice. “We’ve found that voice and IVR-based apps are effective,” Pantalone said.

Makes sense when I think about the seniors I know. They definitely use it as a phone and are generally scared about the idea of texting (with the usual exceptions). This generation of seniors will benefit more from a voice mHealth app.

Then the second money quote from Neil talks about a study that was done that talks about what users are willing to pay for:

Pantalone also reported on another interesting data point among its older customer base that runs counter to attitudes of younger people: 38 percent of Jitterbug and GreatCall users surveyed in 2010 expressed a willingness to pay a recurring monthly fee for a health-related service.

I imagine it’s even more likely true with the senior community where they realize that their health is fragile and they’ve come to realize that they need to take better care of their health. I wonder what other paid mobile health applications are seeing success.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.