The number of Millennials today has reportedly surpassed that of Baby Boomers to become the largest generation group in the US. Consequently, they not only dominate the commercial industry but also have a great influence on healthcare, meaning that in order for providers to stay on top of the generational shift, they need to develop their capabilities to cater to a more tech savvy population. Here are some of the ways Millennials have changed healthcare:
Millennials prefer online healthcare
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45 percent of Millennials 18 to 29 years of age do not have a trusted physician that they visit regularly. This is the case for a number of reasons including their belief that the healthcare system is flawed and unreliable. As a result, this generation prefers to rely on online sources for research and self-diagnosis. So much so that today, a person can walk into a doctor's office, lay out their symptoms, provide an educated guess for their condition and have a thorough conversation with their doctor about it. It is also important to note that younger generations typically research ratings and reviews for healthcare options and clinics online. For this reason, it is important that when a patient finally decides to visit a doctor, their healthcare professional should work with them and not for them by answering any inquiries and helping them further understand the issue, while correcting any misinformation they may have.
Speed of care is a top priority
A study analyzing what Millennials have brought from their online consumer behavior to healthcare interactions states that they are two times more likely to use walk-in clinics than other generations. This is mainly because such clinics typically have shorter waiting times, accommodate same-day appointments, have self-service options, and are conveniently located, among many other small conveniences. Millennials expect every aspect of their appointment to run smoothly. This includes having zero delays and not having to waste time repeating themselves to the doctor as a result of a lack of knowledge management.
Tele-health is becoming increasingly more prominent
The convenience of being able to speak to your doctor from anywhere, including the comfort of your own home is a major advantage for younger generations. Forty percent of Millennials deem tele-medicine to be an important option in healthcare as opposed to 27 percent of Generation Xers and 19 percent of Baby Boomers. This is because younger generations typically require efficient and speedy access to anything and everything including health records and test results. Millennials look for apps for every service, portals for every type of provider and monitor some of their vitals electronically through fitness trackers. If healthcare entities had such features at the ready, patients will automatically be drawn to them and their services.
Costs sometimes matter more to Millennials than their health
According to a Becker's Hospital Review, 50 percent of Millennials skip doctor appointments to avoid expenses. Consequently, one of the reasons why Millennials prefer walk-in clinics is because they are generally more affordable. When discussing treatment options with doctors, 41 percent of Millennials typically ask for reliable estimates of costs prior to treatment and assess how the expenses will fit into their health plan. They try to make the most of their plans and receive greater value for service. This is because healthcare costs have increased even faster than inflation in the US. To combat this, healthcare providers should at least be able to provide patients with strong financial estimates and work with them in finding their money's worth.