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5 reasons young patient retention is declining at your practice

For some practices, patient loyalty among Millennials and younger people is impossible to achieve.

Young patient retention decline at healthcare practice

Millennials and their younger counterparts are the future of your practice. In fact, as of the most recent U.S. Census data, there are 83.1 million Millennials in the U.S., representing more than one-fourth of the country’s population.

Unfortunately, you’re having trouble with patient retention for the younger crowd. Here’s a look at a few reasons patient loyalty can be a challenge for young people.

Common reasons for patient retention issues with younger generations

1. Lack of digital capabilities

Nearly half of Millennials (44 percent) and 40 percent of Generation Z cite easy access to test results — mobile or online — as a factor they use when choosing medical providers, according to Accenture. The ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online is also coveted by 40 percent of millennials and 36 percent of Generation Z.

If your website doesn’t offer much value to your patients, it’s time for an upgrade. Features like online appointment scheduling and appointment confirmations and reminders are added perks that can entice younger people to become part of your loyal patient base.

2. Your online presence isn’t great

More than half of 18-34-year-olds (51 percent) use the internet on a daily basis to find a local business, according to BrightLocal. If your online presence is minimal, younger patients might not even know your practice exists.

Several measures can be taken to boost your online standing. For example, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to target local patients. Other ideas might include enhancing your social media presence and ensuring all your web profiles are claimed and fully completed.

3. Appointment times aren’t convenient

Young patients have busy lives filled with work, school, and family obligations. Therefore, it’s not surprising that 62 percent of Generation Z, Millennials, and Generation X consider the convenience of appointment times a very important factor, according to Accenture.

Modifying your appointment times is one of the best patient retention strategies because it makes care more accessible. Opening your office an hour earlier or closing an hour later — even a few days a week — can make a huge difference. If possible, offer Saturday morning hours once a month, and you’ll surely see an increase in young patient retention.

Check out: 6 tips to boost Millennial patient satisfaction

4. Young people move more frequently

Nearly one-half of 25-34-year-olds (45.3 percent) have lived in their current home for less than two years, according to Zillow. This means part of your young patient retention issue is likely due to people moving out of your area.

There’s nothing you can do about this, so don’t take it personally. Just stay focused on providing outstanding care, so when your younger patient base puts down roots, they’ll make your practice a permanent part of their lives.

5. They can’t afford healthcare

Millennials (16 percent) are more likely to be uninsured than Generation X (12 percent) and Baby Boomers (8 percent), according to the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. Additionally, one-in-five Millennials say they cannot afford routine healthcare expenses.

You can’t do much — or maybe even anything — about healthcare and insurance prices. However, you might be able to help cash-strapped younger patients get the care they need.

Consider offering payment plans or customizing treatment to fit smaller budgets — i.e. running only pertinent tests and putting more expensive ones off until later. If nothing else, you can help young patients find low-cost clinics because you still want them to receive care, if possible.

Patient retention strategies focused on young people are essential to the ongoing success of your practice. This demographic is the future of your business, so it’s important to find ways to relate to them.

Some of the reasons young patient retention is on the decline are out of your control. However, there are plenty of steps you can take to make your practice more inviting to Millennials and other incoming generations.

For more on the topic of Millennial patients, read the whitepaper “7 ways Millennials are changing healthcare — and how your practice must adapt.”

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