Older Adults Prefer Human Help to Manage Health-Related Needs and Recommendations, New Survey Finds

Press Release from Papa

Results point to in-person support as the most effective method for engaging members who struggle to follow through and/or overutilize the emergency department, ultimately helping to lower costs and close care gaps

MIAMI, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- In the age of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital intervention, new survey data show that human help in health care is not only preferred by many older adults, but may also be an effective strategy to reduce over-utilization of emergency services and encourage follow-through on preventive care and health-related recommendations.

Updated logo (PRNewsfoto/Papa Inc.)

A new survey among over 500 Americans aged 65+ with health insurance, conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Papa, found that:

  • 85% would be likely to follow up on a health-related referral if it required them to get support from someone who would help them in person, while only 35% would be likely to do the same if it required them to do so via a virtual care coordinator, and only 16% if it required them to do so via a chatbot.
  • 85% prefer human help over digital help (e.g., apps, websites) when it comes to managing health-related needs they couldn't easily do on their own or haven't been prioritizing (e.g., getting to doctor's appointments, signing up for a food assistance program, getting to the gym).
  • 33% of those who experienced a recent emergency (e.g., hospital visit, ambulance call) say they would have been less likely to experience that event if they had someone they could rely on to help them manage their health concerns and needs (e.g., getting to medical appointments, accessing preventive care).

"While the industry buzzes about AI, one thing is clear: technology can never replace human connection in health care," said Andrew Parker, Founder and CEO of Papa, an end-to-end human care network supporting social needs. "We've seen time and again that providing individuals with resources or referrals, even if paired with virtual support services, is simply not enough to drive real change for all people. Technology is a powerful enabler, but today's findings show many older adults need trusted, human help to advance the important healthcare actions that will drive whole health and lower costs for our healthcare system."

In general, a small percentage of individuals are responsible for a large portion of healthcare spending. As health plans focus on reducing over-utilization of healthcare services, they're increasingly investing in new strategies to engage hard-to-reach members, those with open gaps in care, and/or those with a high number of unmet needs, who are more likely to drive up costs.

In the survey, 34% of Americans aged 65+ with health insurance said they often find it challenging to follow through on all the preventive screenings and/or doctor's visits and tests to manage their health conditions on their own. The data demonstrate that in-person support may be an effective method to engage these individuals, as:

  • 40% of respondents said they would be more likely to follow through with health-related recommendations or referrals (e.g., signing up for a health plan benefit, enrolling in a food assistance program, making appointments) if there was someone they trusted who could come to their home to help them navigate the process.
  • 39% would find it easier to follow through on preventive screenings if they had support making appointments and transportation.

For more information on how health plans can help their members follow through with health-related recommendations, attend and schedule appointments, and more, visit www.papa.com.

About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Papa from February 15-20, 2024, among 521 adults ages 65 and older with health insurance. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 4.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.

About Papa
Papa is a new kind of care, built on human connection. Across the country, health plans and employers look to Papa to provide vital social support by pairing older adults and families with Papa Pals, trained and vetted companions, who provide a helping hand and an open ear, resulting in less loneliness and better health. Furthered by its remote team of social care navigators, Papa also offers ancillary outcomes-driven impact programs designed to help health plans improve health equity, enhance Star Ratings, and reduce costs. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Miami, Papa is backed by Canaan, Tiger Global Management, Comcast Ventures, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, TCG, Initialized Capital, and Seven Seven Six, among other revered institutional and individual investors. We envision a world where no one has to go it alone. Learn more at papa.com.

Papa Media Contact:
Jill Bongiorni Meadows
[email protected]

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SOURCE Papa Inc.

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