Who is technology made for?

An article appeared in the New York Times — as they often do, being a newspaper and all — centered on this inspirational question:

Who is technology made for? […] I can’t help thinking that it would be better for tech companies and us if they focused more of their energy and marketing muscle on what matters to the 99 percent of people who use technology. (1)

You’ve seen this for yourself. So much medtech — particularly mobile medtech for independent or mobile therapists and healthcare providers — focuses on what the providers and therapists want. It lists features and advances based on what might make the practice’s life easier and better.
And we absolutely agree: Making our healthcare providers’ lives easier is absolutely a priority.
But let’s take a second here.
Do you know what new medtech features your patients want? Do you know what they actually care about? 
By answering that question — by focusing on patient-centered technologies and features — you’ll be able to grow your practice properly, both now and well into the future.
Why Care? My Patients Don’t!
Your current patients might not, particularly if they’re from the Silent Generation or Boomers. But, you’ll find that Gen Xers and Millennials do — and that last is now the largest population group in the United States. Either upgrade, or fail.
When Better Isn’t Best
According to a massive patient survey, younger patients are 3x more likely to choose healthcare providers who offer the features they, personally, think are important — not whatever features medtech companies want providers to care about.
The Features Patients Care About
Patients are most concerned about private communications with their providers — no more embarrassing videos or texts flashing up on their phones! — and reliable at-home monitoring, among other medtech features.

Why Should Your Practice Care About New Medtech?

Because Your Patients Will.

Okay, maybe we’re looking too much into this.

After all, according to retrospective studies published by APTA, physical therapy patients tend to skew older.

Out of more than 23,983 patients, over 36% of them were over age 65, putting them firmly in the Boomer generation — that is, those patients aged 55 to 73.(2)

And, older generations traditionally mistrust new technology and are reluctant to upgrade from their current habits.

However, that patient skew towards the Boomer and Silent Generations will last only for a little while longer.

According to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials — adults aged 23 to 38 — are officially the largest living generation in the United States, with 72.1 million total residents as of July 2019.(3)

Even that APTA retrospective supports the finding, with 26.7% of all reviewed patients aged 18-49 years — the second largest population group in the study.
So, while Boomers do and will continue to comprise a large proportion of the general physical therapy population, Millennials are fast behind them.

Focusing on only your current population of clients will leave you blindsided for the next.

But, how do you prepare strategically?

Not All Mobile Medtech Is Created Equal — For You or Your Patients

First of all, when we say not all healthcare technology is “equal,” we don’t necessarily mean that the tech is of low quality or reduced capability.

There are many healthcare technology providers that offer excellent hardware, software, app or SaaS solutions to therapists and other healthcare providers for a variety of use cases.

However, not all technology is equally valued by each generation — particularly by Millennials and the next generation, Gen Z.

So, you can’t go with what technology is “easiest” for you or your (current) patients, or even what technology offers the “best” of a certain suite.

Instead, you need to prioritize the types of technologies and features that your (future) patients value most, while still being able to use it for your current client base.

According to a recent Accenture healthcare survey(4), Gen Zers and Millennials two to three times more likely than previous generations to choose new healthcare providers who offer:

  • Automatic reminders or text messages for their appointments;
  • Secure provider-patient communications;
  • “Remote services” to monitor and record their “health indicators”; and
  • Video communication solutions.

And — among all generations — Accenture later found that today’s patients would choose virtual care for a wide variety of healthcare services, if given the option.(5)

Those include:

  • Health and wellness advisories (62%);
  • Remote monitoring of ongoing health issues (57%);
  • Routine appointments (52%);
  • Mental health appointments (46%); and
  • Appointments with medical specialists for chronic conditions (45%).

The 4 Medtech Features Younger Patients Want Most

So! You can see how upgrading your practice’s current technology suite can both benefit your current patients across all age groups, while “future proofing” your practice for the next big group of physical therapy patients.

But, which specific features should you be looking for when it comes to incorporating new heath and virtual-care technologies into your practice?

Which patient-centered priorities should your tech stack address first?

Basically, the data seem to imply that practices should prioritize technology that:(5)

  1. Allow them to make, cancel, or adjust appointments easily — without calling a landline;
  2. Keep all client and patient communications secure — especially as trust in technology to keep health information safe is rapidly declining among all age groups;
  3. Support at-home health progress and improvement through simple, non-invasive methods; and
  4. Prioritize video communication as a way to connect “traditional” healthcare practices through the convenience of virtual visits.

Of course, we have some opinions on what sort of technology would best check those boxes — especially when you consider that the AC Health app ticks all of those boxes with some added behavioral bonuses — but which specific tech improvements you pursue are unique to you.

In the end, you’ll need to walk the line between appealing to your current patients and attracting newer ones, all while not breaking the bank or making more work for yourself.

Let us know if there’s any way we can help you do that.


1. Ovide, S. (2021, June 10). Tech Forgets About the Needs of the 99%. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/10/technology/tech-for-the-masses.html.
2. Demographics of Clients Seen by Doctor Physical Therapy Student’s During Clinical Education Experiences. APTA Academy of Education. (2017). https://aptaeducation.org/abstract-archive/view.cfm?id=27524.
3. Fry, R. (2021). Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/28/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers-as-americas-largest-generation/.
4. Accenture Consulting. (2019). Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey: US Results. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-94/Accenture-2019-Digital-Health-Consumer-Survey.pdf
5. Accenture Consulting. (2020). Accenture 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey: US Results. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-118/Accenture-2020-digital-health-consumer-survey.pdf