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7 ways Millennials are changing healthcare — and how your practice must adapt

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Millennials are determined to make their mark on the world — even the healthcare industry. Including anyone born between 1981 and 1996,1 this generation and their younger counterparts aren’t content with the current status quo.

You might roll your eyes at the thought of changing the way your practice operates for Millennials, but this is a demographic you don’t want to alienate. By 2015, they officially outnumbered Baby Boomers as the largest generation.2 By 2030, the gap is expected to be 22 million, with 78 million Millennials and 56 million Baby Boomers.3

The sheer size of the Millennial generation — paired with their desire to shake things up — makes them a force to be reckoned with. Find out what Millennials and Generation Z (anyone born in 1997 or after4) want from their healthcare providers and how your practice can meet their needs.

7 ways Millennials are changing healthcare

1. Greater access

Young patients want to know what’s in their medical record without having to ask. Nearly half (44 percent) of Millennials and 40 percent of Generation Z seek providers who offer easy mobile or online access to their test results.5

83% expect to be able to view all their patient information online.6

Taking it a step further, 78 percent want total access to family members’ inpatient charts and the ability to participate in rounds virtually.

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, as it allows you to share information in a manner that’s easy for everyone.

2. More transparency

Young people want to know exactly what’s going on with their health. However, more than half (55 percent) of Millennials and 50 percent of Generation Z believe most health-related information is too complicated.7

42 percent of Millennials and 32 percent of Generation Z don’t have confidence in their ability to get reliable health-related information.

It doesn’t stop there. More than one-third (38 percent) of Millennials and 32 percent of Generation Z trust their peers more than medical professionals, compared with 26 percent of all generations.

Win this demographic over by giving them more transparency. For example, when running a test on a patient, explain exactly what it is and why you want them to have it. Make sure you’re speaking in plain English, as the average person doesn’t usually understand complex medical terms.

3. Outstanding services

The average wait time for a doctor in the U.S. is 18 minutes and 13 seconds.8 This is too long for many young patients.

21% of Millennials and 18% of Generation Z are dissatisfied with the wait time and speed of their appointments.9

Providers aren’t off the hook when these patients leave the office. After their appointment, young patients want to keep the lines of communication open. When they ask their doctor a question, they expect a helpful response in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, 15 percent of this group and 24 percent of Generation Z are unhappy with the responsiveness they receive to follow-up questions. These numbers might not seem particularly high, but thinking of it in terms of your practice: You wouldn’t want up to nearly one-quarter of your patients to be unhappy with your service.

Appease this group by making them feel like a priority. You can try to shorten wait times by not double booking appointment slots or by offering shared appointments. Also consider blocking time off on your calendar once per day to respond to patient messages to ensure you’re giving prompt replies.

4. Patient reviews

Make no mistake, young people aren’t willing to take a chance on just any healthcare provider.

Consumers in the 18-to-34 age group read an average of 11 reviews before feeling like they can trust a business.10

Half of 18-to-34-year-olds always read online reviews for businesses, and only 5 percent never do. If your practice doesn’t have many reviews — or none at all — this demographic might opt to seek care elsewhere.

More than just kind words about your practice, positive reviews carry significant weight among young patients. An overwhelming 91 percent of people in this age group trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Clearly, the impact of positive reviews cannot be emphasized enough. If you don’t currently encourage patients to leave reviews, it’s time to start doing so.

5. Updated technology

Millennials are constantly connected, so these tech-savvy patients don’t want to pick up the phone when they need to see their doctor.

Nearly half (40 percent) of Millennials and 36 percent of Generation Z are more likely to choose a provider that offers the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online.11

They also want help remembering to schedule appointments in the first place. More than one-third (37 percent) of Millennials and 28 percent of Generation Z favor providers that send reminders via email or text message when it’s time for preventative care.

Innovative scheduling isn’t the only tech advancement these patients expect practices to have. They’re also interested in virtual medicine.

Almost one-third (30 percent) of Millennials and 25 percent of Generation Z would like to use remote or telemonitoring devices to observe and record their own health indicators. Additionally, (29 percent) of Millennials and 25 percent of Generation Z want the ability to communicate with their provider through video conferencing.

Keep these patients engaged by making technology a priority. Invest in scheduling software, along with virtual care tools to give them what they need.

6. Convenience

Younger patients are more concerned with convenient appointment times than their older counterparts.

Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of Millennials, Generation Z, and even Generation X consider it a very important factor, compared with 57 percent of Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation.12

Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that nearly one-third (30 percent) of Millennials have used a walk-in clinic, compared with just 14 percent of Baby Boomers and 18 percent of Generation X.13

This aligns with the fact that only two-thirds (67 percent) of Millennials have a primary care physician, compared with 85 percent of Baby Boomers and 78 percent of Generation X.

Become the provider the young generation flocks to by being accessible. Leave a couple 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 working professionals.

7. Upfront cost information

By 2022, healthcare expenditures in the U.S. are expected to reach $11,674 per person annually.14

Young patients aren’t willing to be surprised with exorbitant healthcare bills, so they’ve become informed consumers. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of Millennials sought cost information when receiving care, compared with 64 percent of Baby Boomers and 65 percent of Generation X.15

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.

Comparatively, 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.

Prepare your practice for Millennial patients

A new demographic has taken the reins of adulthood, and they’re doing healthcare their own way. Millennials and Generation Z have different needs than their parents, so you’ll need to make the necessary adjustments to attract and retain them.

If updating your practice to appease Millennial patient desires seems too overwhelming, PatientPop can help. PatientPop delivers an all-in-one technology solution that empowers healthcare providers to promote their practices online, attract new patients, and retain more patients for life. With PatientPop, providers can enhance and automate each touchpoint in the patient journey — from the first impression online to online appointment scheduling to post-visit follow-up — helping to improve the overall patient experience and reduce tedious front-office tasks.

Download the free whitepaper

7 ways Millennials are changing healthcare — and how your practice must adapt

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