Patient satisfaction should be a priority for any healthcare practice looking to increase their number of young patients — whether by attracting new Millennial patients or retaining existing ones. But what appeases Baby Boomers and Generation X doesn’t always cut it for Millennials.
Read on for information on what Millennial patients want from their healthcare providers as well as a few tips on improving young patient satisfaction in healthcare.
1. Focus on convenience
Convenience is key for Millennials. According to Accenture, 62 percent of Millennials — along with members of Generation Z and Generation X — say the convenience of appointment times is “critically important” or “very important” in determining their satisfaction with healthcare services. Currently, healthcare practices are falling short of meeting young patients’ expectations: 16 percent of Millennials and 15 percent of Gen Z say they’re dissatisfied with the convenience of appointment times.
It’s not surprising, then, that nearly 30 percent of Millennials have used a walk-in clinic, according to the 2017 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey. This aligns with the fact that only two-thirds of Millennials (67 percent) have a primary care physician.
To boost Millennial patient satisfaction, do what you can to offer greater appointment convenience. This might include leaving a few time slots open for last-minute and same-day appointments, so you can see patients when they need you most. Also, consider keeping your practice open late at least one night per week and perhaps one or two Saturdays per month to appease young working professionals.
Related: 5 reasons patients no-show for healthcare appointments
2. Modernize your front office tech
Tech-savvy Millennials don’t want to pick up the phone when they need to see their doctor. In fact, 40 percent of Millennials are more likely to choose a provider that offers the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online, according to Accenture.
Millennials also expect their healthcare providers to remind them of their scheduled appointments. More than one-third of Millennials (37 percent) favor providers that send reminders via email or text message when it’s time for preventative care.
Increase Millennial patient satisfaction by making technology a priority. Invest in online scheduling software as well as automated appointment confirmations and reminders.
Check out: 6 health technology tools patients expect your practice to have
3. Work to shorten wait times
The average wait time for a doctor in the U.S. is 18 minutes and 13 seconds, according to Vitals. This is too long for many patients, Millennials included. Some 21 percent of Millennials and 18 percent of Generation Z are dissatisfied with the wait time and speed of their appointments, according to Accenture.
Shortening wait times is often easier said than done. However, if Millennial patient satisfaction is your goal, you must make it a priority. Start by instructing your staff not to double book appointments. Then, consider adopting shared appointments, where patients with similar conditions are treated in a group setting.
Discover: 10 things patients hate about healthcare practices
4. Discuss healthcare costs upfront
According to the Deloitte 2019 Global Health Care Outlook, healthcare expenditures in the U.S. are expected to reach $11,674 per person annually by 2022. Young patients aren’t willing to be surprised with exorbitant healthcare bills, so they’ve become informed consumers. Some 72 percent of Millennials sought cost information when receiving care, compared with 64 percent of Baby Boomers and 65 percent of Generation X, according to the EBRI/Greenwald & Associates survey.
Millennials are also focused on the cost of prescription drugs. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) reported checking whether their health plan would cover care or medication. Only 46 percent of Generation X and 49 percent of Baby Boomers have taken this step.
Appease the young generation by automatically providing cost estimates for recommended care. Being open and honest about these expenses will position you as a trustworthy provider. If possible, consider offering payment plans to make expensive treatments more accessible to those on a limited budget.
5. Be prepared to educate
According to the report The Great American Search for Healthcare Information, nearly half of Millennials (42 percent) don’t have confidence in their ability to get reliable health-related information. What’s worse, Millennials who are able to find health information can’t decipher it; more than half of Millennials (55 percent) believe most health-related information is too complicated, according to the report.
Achieve higher Millennial patient satisfaction by educating as well as healing. When running a test on a Millennial patient, explain exactly what it is and why you want them to have it. Make sure you’re speaking in plain English, as most people don’t understand complex medical terms.
Check out: 5 ways doctors are hurting patient satisfaction — and don’t know it
6. Offer greater access to medical records
Most Millennials (83 percent) expect to be able to view all their patient information online, according to Jefferson Health. Test results are of specific interest: 44 percent of Millennials seek providers who offer easy mobile or online access to their test results, according to Accenture.
If your practice doesn’t currently offer comprehensive and seamless access to medical records, it’s time to make a change. Adding a patient portal is an effective way to meet this demand.
Want more help appealing to young patients? Check out the blog post “What Gen Z and Millennial patients look for in healthcare providers.”