Millennial patients: Five things to know

They’re picky, they want doctors who care and they expect a fast, simple check-in process. This survey spells out what millennials are looking for from health care.

The millennial generation is 83.1 million strong, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report. From 24 to 39 years old, they’re starting families, choosing primary care physicians and selecting pediatricians. They are health conscious, digitally savvy, elusive—and they’re your core health care marketing target.

They are also more likely than any other patient to walk out if they aren’t getting what they want from you.

Our latest Hailey Sault research, “Why Patients Change: 2017,” reveals that 36 percent of millennials often look for health care options other than what their primary care doctor recommends, and 35 percent have gone outside their preferred local health system for special treatments.

Because millennials are playing a greater role than any previous generation in determining how, when and where they receive care, the need to understand them cannot be overstated.

The millennial mindset: Five key research findings

Together with Frank N. Magid Associates, Hailey Sault surveyed 1,100 consumers across the United States who self-identified as health care decision makers in their household. Our goal was to gain a deeper understanding of each generation and what causes them to change providers. Thirty-two percent of our respondents were millennials, and here’s what they told us about themselves:

1. Millennials prioritize convenience

They are more likely to value short wait times and a simple, fast check-in process.

  • Thirty-two percent of the millennials we surveyed would use whichever health system provided the timeliest access to its services, compared with 19 percent of Gen Xers and 19 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Millennials are more likely to believe they can seek care outside their insurance network; 39 percent feel they can go to any health system, hospital or physicians’ clinic of their choosing.

2. Millennials value cost transparency

Perhaps because many of them still carry unprecedented student debt and are experiencing some of the highest-deductible health care plans, they are more likely than any other generation to seek cost-effective care and treatments.

  • Sixty-two percent of millennials believe health care is more expensive than it was last year.
  • Seventy percent would switch to a provider with more reasonable costs.
  • Sixty-five percent would switch if the cost of health care was more aligned with their expectations.

3. Millennials trust their doctors, but don’t believe their doctors genuinely care about them

Millennials have a high degree of trust when it comes to attitudes about their health care provider.

  • Our research found that 63 percent trust their doctor.
  • Sixty percent said that their doctor often explains things in a way they can understand.

However, only 49 percent thought that their doctor genuinely cared about them. When asked what qualities they believe indicated caring …

  • Fifty percent wanted their doctor to listen to their needs and input when considering their health care options.
  • Forty-five percent wanted their doctor to clearly answer and take the necessary time to answer their questions; 64 percent said they would switch if they felt a doctor would spend more time with them.
  • Forty-three percent wanted their doctor to explain their medical condition and be empathetic at the same time.

4. Millennials define health differently

Millennials don’t define health as simply the absence of disease. They view health more holistically, with mental health, fitness, longevity and healthy lifestyles being essential.

  • Thirty-five percent of millennials want their local health care provider to help them be healthier every day.
  • When asked if their local health care provider currently provided information and resources about everyday health, 51 percent said yes.
  • Millennials were much more likely than any generation to trust sources like WebMD, friends and family, health magazines, their Fitbit and even Nike when it came to providing a daily source for health and fitness information.

5. Millennials are leading the charge in an increasingly connected world

Although they appear to grab onto and then abandon media at the speed of light, our research revealed the following insights:

  • Millennials are multichanneled—even though they seem to be a digital-first generation, they are actually open to several traditional channels.
  • They consume “media experiences,” and strategies for connecting with them must reach across and incorporate multiple channels.
  • They view their phone as an extension of themselves, they prefer a laptop to a desktop and a lot of what they consume is streamed.

We asked millennials who had actually switched providers to tell us why. This is what they told us:

  • “Quality of service.”
  • “Better rates when it came to copays.”
  • “Convenience.”
  • “Hassle-free appointments.”
  • “I didn’t like the doctor, I thought there were better ones out there.”
  • “Timeliness of service, shorter wait times.”
  • “It met my requirements for lower cost, better service and faster response.”

The millennial generation is more demanding than any other generation. They are more cost conscious and service oriented, they are looking to connect with a doctor to connect who genuinely cares about them, they want help from their doctors to stay healthy and they are more likely than any other generation to go elsewhere if they aren’t getting what they need. Doctors should begin to connect with them, gain their trust and start establishing their long-term loyalty.

Denise Burgess is a senior writer at Hailey Sault . The original version of this post can be viewed here


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