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7 Ways Millennials Are Changing The Healthcare Industry (And What It Means To You)

As the largest generation in the United States, and one whose purchasing power continues to grow, Millennials are having a major and increasing influence on just about every industry out there. Healthcare is no exception.

The mindsets, influencers and habits of Millennials don't align with traditional models of healthcare delivery—and healthcare brands must either adapt or be left behind.

Here are some of the most game-changing ways Millennials interact with healthcare brands.

1. They Want Care Fast

Millennials have been called the "drive-through generation" because they want healthcare delivered more quickly and efficiently. While older generations see primary care physicians as their first line of defense against non-critical health concerns, Millennials see them as a last resort. Instead, as many as 34% prefer retail clinics and 24% prefer acute care clinics.1

2. They Do Their Homework

The Affordable Care Act, the rising costs of healthcare and the increased number of self-help resources available have encouraged this generation to take control of their healthcare. They do that in part by turning to the internet. For non-urgent health concerns, Millennials often search online to gather information before seeing a doctor. They're also twice as likely as other generations to act on health advice they find through the internet, including social media.2

3. They Trust But Avoid Doctors

Despite the abundance of healthcare information at their fingertips, Millennials still consider physicians their most trusted resources for healthcare information. So why do they avoid the doctor? Reasons include long wait times for or at appointments, fear of bad news, a general lack of convenience and, not least of all, fear of big bills.3 In fact, as many as 54% of Millennials have delayed or avoided medical treatment due to costs.1

4. They Want Upfront Estimates

With out-of-pocket costs on the rise, 41% of Millennials say they request and receive estimates before undergoing medical treatment. That's compared to only 18% of seniors and only 21% of baby boomers.1

5. They Listen To Other Patients

Word of mouth is especially important to Millennials. That includes, of course, what's said online. In the past year, 23% of Millennials say they've looked at online reviews for healthcare providers or hospitals, compared to 15% of non-Millennials. These consumers are also twice as likely as non-Millennials to have participated in online communities in the past year, and they're more trusting of the information they find there. Likewise, Millennials are increasingly comfortable sharing their own symptoms and treatment experiences through patient networks.3

6. They're Leading Health-Tech Trends

It's no surprise that people of all ages are using technology to manage their health, from simply searching for health information online to using mobile apps and more. The difference is that Millennials are early adopters, so when you see them forming new tech habits, you can expect others to catch up. Recently, Millennials have spearheaded the use of wearable sensors in conjunction with health apps.3

7. They View Health Holistically

Compared to older generations, Millennials take a broader view of what affects their health and wellness. Whereas older generations are more likely to consider regular exams important to their health, Millennials are more likely to focus on day-to-day health maintenance choices that they believe will pay off long-term.3

What This Means To You

To become preferred by Millennials, healthcare brands must start thinking of patients more like retail consumers. This will mean evolving both your care delivery model itself and the way you communicate with consumers. It will mean prioritizing convenience and transparency, embracing consumer technology and finding other, creative ways to deliver value on a day-to-day basis.

It will also mean recognizing that conversations about healthcare are all around us, 24/7. Healthcare brands cannot control these conversations—but they can learn to participate in ways that show leadership, build trust and encourage ongoing brand utilization.

To learn more and discuss how your brand can use this information, please contact Keith Busch.

*Sources: 1.) 2015, March 25. "Survey: 5 Millennial Trends Altering the Delivery of Healthcare." HIT Consultant. / 2.) "Millennials and Healthcare: What Is Your Engagement Strategy on Social Media." Referral MD. / 3.) 2015. "Healthcare Without Borders: How Millennials Are Reshaping Health and Wellness." Communispace Health. / 4.) 2012. "Healthcare Consumers: The New Reality." Smith & Jones.