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Technology Advisor: Millennials are the new target

By Bipin Thomas
From the April 2017 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

It was always the baby boomers who dominated the health care demographic landscape — one of the top audience targets of opportunity. The post-war crowd still represents a substantial slice of the population in the U.S. But baby boomers are no longer the largest cohort. Millennials (age 18-34) are now the largest generation, reaching 75 million in the U.S., and one of the most sought-after consumer crowds. But millennials are nothing like quiet and compliant baby boomers. In health care, millennials have higher expectations and are more demanding than previous generations. Winning new millennial patients requires adifferent approach. The following are some of the significant distinctions to reach and retain this target audience.

Digital access is the new driver
More than any other group, millennials own, use and rely on the digital devices, mobile applications and the Internet throughout the health care continuum. They rely on Internet information. Millennials look online for health information, to make and manage appointments, to pay bills and to communicate with the office. Patient reviews are a significant criterion in physician selection. In choosing a doctor, millennials’ preferences are guided by opinions posted on government sites, reports from friends and family and sites such as Healthgrades, Consumer Reports and Yelp.

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Millennials expect physicians to value their time. Convenience is the new currency. A research report by the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) reveals “the leading cause of provider dissatisfaction among millennials is being unable to get laboratory results during the same visit.” Millennials have high expectations and demand more from their providers. They expect fast and efficient care, according to HIDA research. Facilities should be modern, comfortable and have up-to-date equipment and technology. And while they’re waiting, they expect to find comfortable chairs, snacks and beverages.

You probably have just one shot at connecting. This is a generation that has grown up expecting and finding nearly immediate answers online. They are likely to form strong opinions quickly. And, good or bad, they are prepared to share their opinions quickly and online. Millennials want convenience more than an ongoing provider relationship. Almost half of millennial respondents in a recent Salesforce survey said they had no personal relationship with their primary care physician. The cost of health care is important to millennials. The FAIR Health survey indicates that this group is most likely to price check, comparison shop and to ask about costs in advance of services.
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