In just the last year, Millennials (adults ages 18-34) have become the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, officially surpassing Gen Xers, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center. The healthcare industry needs to take notice, as this group of young people presents new and distinct challenges.
For example, Boomers see their primary care physician 80% of the time, while Millennials only see their PCP 61% of the time, according to a PNC Healthcare survey. And not only are Millennials less inclined to think ahead about their health than previous generations, they find physically going to the doctor inconvenient. Further, they are more likely to ask for a discount and significantly less likely to schedule preventive visits.
Having been raised with nearly constant access to information online, and an array of expectations that go along with the access, Millennials take a different approach to choosing their doctors and evaluating their needs than previous generations. The habits, preferences and priorities of Millennials have implications for the communication between doctors and Millennial patients.
To stay ahead of the game, healthcare providers must understand how their younger patients gather information and use medical services, as well as their expectations around communication. Here’s insight into what they prioritize and expect from their providers:
Cost matters more to Millennials
More and more, people (especially Millennials) say that healthcare is just too expensive. Millennials seek cost-effective care and treatments that will just get the job done. How can you let them know they’re getting the most bang for their buck? Here are some facts and comparisons to consider:
Convenience is a priority.
The use of technology makes everything easier for Millennials. Email and text notifications, or push notifications through apps, are preferred over phone calls and snail mail. Millennials don’t want to get a voicemail from their doctor’s office reminding them to make an appointment. When establishing lasting relationships with Millennials, it’s best to go mobile and adapt to these trends.
Millennials want and rely on accessible information.
The first step any Millennial will take when facing a health issue, whether it’s a questionable rash or more severe symptoms, is to Google it. They Google their doctors also, so if a healthcare provider’s website doesn’t look up to par, that’s an immediate blow to a potential patient’s trust. Being present and progressive digitally is a must.
While Millennials present a new set of challenges for many healthcare providers, they are quick to adapt and adjust, and will reward those providers that meet them where they are and respect their preferences when in comes to learning about and consuming healthcare services. A focus on digital, on efficiency and on affordability will go a long way towards establishing lasting relationships with this sizable population.
This article originally appeared on April 28, 2016, in Marketing:Health.