Millennials and Healthcare: 5 Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore

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For healthcare companies and service providers, attracting and retaining millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000) may no longer just be a matter of maintaining regular growth. It could very quickly become a matter of survival.

Not only are millennials the largest generation in U.S. history (83.1 million according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data—that’s 8 million more than Baby Boomers), but in the next two years, they’re expected to account for more than $1.4 trillion in annual spending. And this figure will only grow as more millennials enter the workforce and advance in their careers.

Inspired by newly transformed retail experiences, millennials are driving major shifts across the healthcare industry from patient engagement to the ways they pay, disrupting processes and service methodologies created to appease Baby Boomers and Generation X.  Understanding these five major millennial healthcare trends can help you attract, delight, and retain millennial members and patients.

  1. Social media-based decision making

Decision-making information is easier to access than ever thanks to the internet, and it’s leaving tech-savvy millennials feeling more empowered when it comes to their healthcare choices. The most recent data shows that 23% of millennials look at online reviews for providers and hospitals, compared to 15% from other generations. If you don’t have a social strategy in place, you’re missing out on an opportunity to help shape your increasingly important online reputation.

  1. Emphasizing patient-first experiences

Millennial healthcare preferences focus on service and payment models that incentivize and reward quality care and experiences. Because millennials are digital natives, appeasing them largely means having healthcare management at their fingertips. They crave mobile-friendly online health portals to view medical records and to schedule appointments. They want to chat with customer support instead of calling, and they want timely reminder texts and personalized health offers.

  1. The rise of telemedicine

While Baby Boomers and Gen X are more skeptical of the service, 60% of millennials surveyed by Salesforce said they were interested in adopting telemedicine use. They see it as a more cost-effective and less time-consuming option than a regular doctor’s visit.

  1. DIY preventative treatment

Millennials pay close attention to their daily health and wellness decisions thanks to dieting apps, fitness wearables, and social media. To them, this means less need for preventative doctor’s appointments or annual visits, but an increased use of acute and urgent care compared to their parents’ generation. This can have far-reaching implications on staffing, costs, and efficiency of care delivery if providers and insurance companies aren’t in sync with the actions of millennials.

  1. Demand flexible payment options

Cost-conscious millennials seek non-traditional payment models, championing ones that ensure quality care before they pay. These include shared savings, bundled payment discounts, fee-for-outcome, and partial capitation. With out-of-pocket costs on the rise, millennials are also more likely to request upfront estimates for services (41%, according to PNC Financial Services Group) and challenge costs.

Technology and patient-first experiences go hand-in-hand. The companies that adapt early with good execution have the chance to build authority and relationships with this savvy (and picky) generation.

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