These Are the Top Millennial Healthcare Preferences

These Are the Top Millennial Healthcare Preferences November 12, 2018

While the healthcare industry has long focused on the needs of baby boomers and Gen X, only recently have millennials — individuals born between 1982 and 2000 — become a key demographic for many healthcare organizations. But as they grow older, millennials make up an increasing portion of the patient population. And in doing so, it becomes all the more clear that millennial healthcare preferences are significantly different than those of different generations. Savvy healthcare organizations are doubling down on their efforts to understand and cater to the unique requirements of their millennial clientele, and for good reason. Millennials now number 81.3 million in the United States, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. And not only are millennials now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force — they’re also the largest living adult generation in the country, according to Pew Research Center data. The numbers don’t lie. Tuning into the wants and needs of millennials isn’t something you can put off until later. In order to keep your organization relevant, grow your revenue, and above all, better serve your patients, you have to act now. So if you’re wondering what millennials want when it comes to healthcare, read on below.

What Millennials Want When It Comes to Healthcare

How Gen Y is shaping America’s $3.5 trillion healthcare industry

Millennials now have tremendous influence on the market, and companies — including healthcare organizations — have taken notice. But just how are millennials changing healthcare? More than anything, they are demanding a shift toward consumer-oriented service.

One of the things millennials prioritize in particular is convenience. 30% of millennials said they were likely to use a walk-in clinic, more than twice as much as baby boomers (14%). An additional 40% of millennials said they were likely to consider telemedicine, again more than twice as much as baby boomers (19%). And in the months since this study was first published, the transition to virtual care as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has likely only increased this number. Even once the pandemic is over, it’s very likely that telemedicine will need to be a staple of millennial healthcare.

Survey: Millennials more likely to use online healthcare cost-tracking tools `

healthcare cost-tracking tools `

Baby boomers

As a generation that has now gone through two major recessions, millennials are highly conscious about their spending.

“Millennials are very financially aware, probably more so than any other generation before them because many of them came of age during the financial crisis and its aftermath,” says Kerim Derhalli, CEO of invstr on Debt.com. “It’s important that they’re empowered to make smart financial decisions that prepare them for the future.”

And increased visibility around finances, from sites where you can view the salaries of employees at your company to apps that tell you where to find an item at the lowest price, has only fueled this tendency. 28% of millennials said they were likely to use online healthcare cost-tracking tools, compared to just 17% of Gen Xers and 10% of baby boomers.

The bottom line? Millennials now expect transparency in healthcare pricing just as much as they do in retail.

In the age of smartphones, we use our mobile devices for just about everything: banking, shopping, social media, and increasingly, healthcare. As a result, nearly three-quarters of millennials (71%) say they would like their provider to offer an app to supplement the explanation and delivery of their care. Today, having a mobile app is no longer a differentiator for healthcare organizations — it’s expected.

Millennial healthcare best practices

After seeing all of this information laid out, you might think that millennial patients are acting more and more like retail consumers — and you’d be right. All signs indicate that this consumerization of healthcare is the future of the industry, something which is not likely to change anytime soon. Like it or not, healthcare organizations hoping to attract millennials must begin to view patients as customers.

To make the transformations necessary to appeal to their audience, providers should incorporate patient preferences into every level of their organization. This includes everything from billing to technology, facilities, administration, human resources, and clinical decision-making. With so many different factors to consider, a millennial healthcare overhaul may seem overwhelming. Encouraging frontline associates to adopt the following five strategies, though, is a great place to start:

Listen: Nobody likes to feel overlooked, especially when it comes to something as important as their healthcare. Doctors, nurses, and other frontline healthcare employees should always offer a sympathetic ear to their patients, making sure to address their concerns with empathy and accommodate their preferences whenever possible. Even when there is no immediate resolution, patients want their concerns and opinions to be heard.

Offer a blameless apology: The things patients get frustrated about are often out of a provider’s control. One patient coming in late in the morning, for example, can throw off the schedule for the entire day. But immediately pointing fingers at somebody else can make it seem like you care more about defending yourself than addressing a patient’s complaint. Instead of coming up with excuses, apologize to the patient and acknowledge their concerns without placing the blame on someone or something else.

Offer to help: After you’ve apologized, it’s time to be proactive. If there’s a clear way you can resolve the issue — for example, immediately scheduling an appointment for a patient who’s had a hard time getting through to the receptionist — do so. If it’s not quite as clear cut, you can always ask patients what you can do to make things right.

Follow through: As the saying goes, talk is cheap — proposing a solution without following through doesn’t mean much at all. Taking action, on the other hand, shows patients that you genuinely value them and respect their wants and needs. Try to do so as quickly as possible after speaking with the patient to make it clear that you’ve prioritized the issue.

Keep it professional: Dealing with unhappy patients can be difficult, but you should never resort to rudeness, insults, or sarcasm. A patient in need of healthcare is often stressed out by their circumstances, which can cause them to act out of character. They may also be dealing with issues you aren’t aware of. Whatever the context, treat your patients with respect to show them that you’ll be there for them in up times and in down.

There’s no better way to find out what millennials want when it comes to healthcare than to hear directly from them. That’s why we’ve made it easy for patients to provide real-time feedback, and for providers to act on it. With our service recovery and daily performance improvement tools, healthcare leaders can shift the focus onto the patient and promote a culture of service excellence. And in turn, your team will be empowered to meet the ever-growing expectations of your patients.

Interested in learning more?

For more information on how our real-time patient feedback and service recovery tools can help you better serve your patients, check out our products, request a demo, or reach out to us with any questions you might have.

author

Edward Shin, MD

CEO and Co-Founder

Previously co-founded WellApps and Healogica. Built and led a healthcare team at Gerson Lehrman Group. Director of Content Development at Healthology. Ed received his BA and MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and is board-certified in Internal Medicine.

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