Millennials present particularly new and distinct challenges for healthcare systems as they emerge as the largest healthcare-consuming generation in the United States.
Recent research we have conducted indicates that Millennials could be the game-changing consumer for healthcare marketing as we know it, in part because Millennial expectations and behaviors don’t align with traditional models of healthcare delivery.
In contrast to authority-driven customer communication modes, nearly half of all Millennials want their healthcare experience to feel more accessible and engaging. Yet in spite of this invitation, still only about 12% of pharmaceutical budgets are allocated to Millennials, with a paltry 9% spend reported by agencies.
Make no mistake, they want the benefits of good healthcare, but in a way that offers a newer, richer kind of multi-channel connection.
Primary Care Doctors Are Optional
Just under half of all Millennials prefer free-standing urgent care, acute care clinics or virtually based health consults for non-critical concerns. They avoid sole-source care, seeing primary care physicians 30% less than Boomers. Millennials in their 20s see regular doctor’s visits as time-consuming and expensive. They expect their health-related interactions to be the same as all the other information at their fingertips: fast, affordable, helpful, and even entertaining.
Healthcare Is A Community, Not A System
Mistrustful of authority, Millennials don’t want to be captured by a system. They want the freedom to opt in and out, on their terms, and access multiple sources of care dedicated to earning their trust. Healthcare is more than disease care. It’s a different kind of authority, with like-minded people and resources connected to the idea of thriving.
Seen this way, there’s increased promise for creating the engaging content Millennials want across apps, online communities, health clubs, spinning and yoga studios, wellness travel, and many other environments where the topic of health can drive experiences Millennials would actively choose.
Millennials Relentlessly Do Their Homework
Utilizing online forums, social media, health apps, wearables, and virtual influencers, more than half of all Millennials are quick to do in-depth research when symptoms occur and want multi-channel access to all their healthcare-related business. They are certainly digital-first, but when it comes to healthcare, they’re actually omnichannel-first.
Compared to any other generation, Millennials default to — and prefer — information corroborated by multiple channels and influencers. In fact, before even meeting with a healthcare professional, 54% of Millennials have consulted as many as seven information sources for purposes of self-diagnosis from blogs to medical message boards, ratings and reviews and more.
Technology = New Patients
In our age of technology and our current “Attention Economy,” Millennials lack appreciation for the old, authority-based healthcare model. Seeing a doctor is an unwieldy, expensive and unwelcome errand. Their version is a modernized experience more akin to quick retail in which they’re treated like the valued shoppers they are. As such, Millennials actually want to give their undivided attention to the provider who understands their world — in the right place, at the right time and in the right way.
To this end, technology makes everything easier for them. It’s understandable that 71% want to book doctor appointments through a mobile app, but it is interesting, if not telling, that 74% of Millennials actually prefer to see a doctor virtually with the help of applications like Telehealth.
As Millennials seek community, inspiration and seamless connection in healthcare, that presses a new set of opportunities and challenges around how healthcare gets health done. If these stats aren’t big enough to suggest a second look at how providers can understand better ways to market to Millennials in real-time, maybe this one will: almost 30% of Millennials are now having children. And when they do, they’re going to fully expect that provider to be listening closely.