Few things are as certain as demographic change. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, Millennials have become the largest generational group in the U.S. workforce. They make up more than 34 percent of workers, greater than either Gen Xers or Baby Boomers.
Compared to older generations, Millennials are far less likely to be married, have lower median household incomes, are far less likely to be veterans, most likely to live in metropolitan areas, and currently outnumber Gen Xers. They are more likely to live with family and have grown up with internet access, smartphones, and instant access to information.
A shift in demographics typically means changes in experiences, attitudes, and expectations. That has implications for businesses of all kinds, including healthcare providers, as nurse Carol Gibbons suggests. Here are some examples collected from a variety of sources by Becker’s Hospital Review:
- Millennials cost a third to a half less in annual treatment than older generations.
- They are far more likely to ask for a discount and are cost-conscious in getting treatment.
- Most don’t schedule preventative physician visits.
- Nearly half have no personal relationship with their primary care giver and many thought their primary care given wouldn’t recognize them if they passed each other on the street.
- They want to use technology in setting appointments, comparison shopping for care, reading reviews of care givers, and checking prices.
Gibbons suggests a number of steps that providers can take to better work with this large population segment.
Get your technology straight
With the emphasis on technology and expectations of convenience, you have to consider how to adapt scheduling and information delivery to work more closely with mobile internet access. Forms should be available on your website, best in a format that can be filled out online. Consider whether to add electronic visits to your list of services if supported by insurance. Add wireless internet access for patients at your locations.
Don’t forget social media
Millennials expect to find you on social media. That means Facebook at least, and likely others. Ask them which ones would be most convenient to get a sense of where you should place your efforts. Regularly go online to your own accounts and to ratings sites for feedback about the practice.
In addition to embracing technology, also think of the patient experience. Do you offer extended hours? Is there a way for people to see whether things are running late before arriving at the office? Some practices use technology regularly appearing in restaurants to text people when they are next, so they can leave the office to shop or get coffee. Also, provide online payment and statements.
As Gibbons notes, patients may be willing to pay extra for health coaching or counseling services. That can mean a stronger relationship with patients as well as an extra source of revenue.
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