Ophthalmology Business

APR 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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for the fastest growing market? Tablets and smartphones aren't just for the young— an older demographic is using the technology W hat is the average age of a person spending money on and adopting new technology, such as a smartphone or a tablet? If you thought it was someone in his or her teens or early 20s, you would be wrong, research shows. And this fact could aid ophthalmologists in finding new ways to reach their biggest demographic—baby boomers. "Technology use is no longer the young man's game—24% of active Facebook users are 55 to 64 years old. Baby boomers are dedicated to riding the cutting edge of technological innovation to improve their quality of life and enhance their connectivity," said Richard M. Awdeh, MD, director, Technology Transfer and Innovation, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami. "Fifty-five to 64-year-olds have the fastest growing adoption rate of tablets." The same age group likely to have cataracts or be interested in refractive surgery or presbyopia-correcting lenses—the 46- to 64-year-old population—is spending more money on technology than any other age group, according to Forrester Research's annual benchmark technology study. "Healthcare represented 18% of GDP in 2010, so it stands to reason that it has emerged as a rapidly growing area for technological innovation. Twenty-nine percent of American adults have downloaded a health app, and Google estimates that 26% of all U.S. prescription searches in 2012 were done from a mobile device," Dr. Awdeh said. The numbers of those using new technologies and social media to connect, find information, perform tasks, and pursue interests are growing daily. According to information from Lookout Mobile Security's The Lookout Blog, in 2012, global smartphone unit sales had expected growth rates of 25%, from 472 million in 2011 to 630 million. Social media has significance in healthcare The fastest growing demographic for social media use is the baby boomer generation, and the use of multiple technology platforms is increasing as well. Use of three of the big social media networks—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—has reached 42% among the 79 million-strong baby boomer age group (or 26% of the U.S. population), according to information at BabyBoomerGold.com. The community site for the age group cited Nielsen data that approximately 15% of baby boomers now also use smartphones. According to Facebook, nearly one in seven people is an active user, with 901 million active users as of a year ago. Other social media platforms are exploding in use as well. People are not accessing their media in the same way as they did in the past. In 2010, YouTube exceeded 2 billion views a day. By 2012, it had continued on page 22 April 2013 • Ophthalmology Business 21

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