Why Millennial Health Care Expectations Matter

Health care marketers need to know one important fact: Millennials don’t care about your health care system. At all.

They don’t care if you are ranked by U.S. News & World Report. They don’t care if you’re a leading cancer center. They are not interested in your paper forms, your mauve waiting rooms, or your NCQA quality score. 

Today’s health care system was built around Baby Boomers, but their Millennial offspring don’t care much for any part of it. They have little patience for the complexity of the existing health care system.

Half of Millennials claim to visit a doctor less than once per year, 93% don’t schedule preventative care visits, and 42% will cancel a check-up due to other priorities.

What’s driving this behavior? The Transamerica Center for Health Studies Survey states one in five Millennials is unable to afford routine health care and 47% must cut corners on health care due to cost. While Millennials do their best to prioritize their health, they struggle with the lack of cost transparency. It’s the primary reason for their health care system frustration.



The winners in health care will be organizations that create a seamless experience. Providers need to create an experience so a visit to the doctor is as simple as ordering a venti flat white with almond milk, two shots, extra hot. (Which, although complicated, doesn’t prevent you from ordering a coffee!)

What you can do:

Set and achieve expectations

Millennials expect their medical transactions to run smoothly. If they have a 9 appointment, they expect to be seen at 9 not 9:05. A five-minute delay tells them you are either unprepared, or you don’t care about them — or both. You want a repeat patient. You want them to refer their friends. If you fail to meet an expectation, then you will likely lose both. 

Communicate the way they communicate

If you’re calling a Millennial to confirm an appointment, it’s likely they’ll ignore your call and your voice message. They’ll arrive for their appointment oblivious of your call, or they won’t show up at all. And the reason they didn’t notify you was because they couldn’t text you. 

Do the heavy lifting

Sending a Millennial forms to complete prior to their appointment is a waste of paper and postage. An email is better, but not if it links to a clunky web experience. Millennials expect you to do the work. You are serving them. 

Seek and embrace feedback

Millennials want to know you hear them. They will provide feedback if they think you are listening. They’re going to look for your behavior to change based on their feedback. If it doesn’t, then they will see you as inauthentic and only in business for the money.

Health care marketers waste too much time competing with the expected. Focus on the experience — start with the patient journey and go through the rest of their life. That’s how health care marketers will win Millennials over.

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