Not long ago, baby boomers were the largest demographic segment in the U.S. That is no longer the case. Last year, millennials officially took over as the largest American generation. The group of people born between 1980 and 1997 (18 to 35 years during 2015) numbers 75.4 million, as reported by the Pew Research Center, passing the 74.9 million baby boomers.
Over the last few decades, baby boomers drove decision making, policy, and markets based solely on the size of the demographic. They could out-vote, out-spend, out-demand, and out-need anyone else. Systems, including in healthcare, would to some degree cater to them as a practical response. If the largest portion of an organization’s audience is from one group with certain shared characteristics, chances are good that the organization will to some degree bend toward the needs of that group.
As millennials surpass baby boomers, many aspects of life and commerce will focus increasingly on the growing demographic. Becker’s Hospital Review offers a good synopsis of how millennials influence society and what that will mean for healthcare in the long run. Although no group of people is uniform, there are general themes that will appear. Here are some themes that can affect healthcare positioning, marketing, and practice:
Many millennials expect the values espoused by a brand to match their own, and for those values to appear in design, delivery of product or services, advertising, and methods of doing business. They share on social media the brands they like and opening and quickly criticize those they see as having incompatible values. They can become a strong force in promoting or detracting from your organization’s brand, and the decision are made beyond the confines of practice areas.
Millennials look at health in a broad way, incorporating personal habits, food choices, and a wider definition of health. A healthcare organization will have to think beyond illness treatment and consider wellness. Luckily, that fits the general industry move toward population healthcare management and condition management.
As a group, millennials are more likely to demand involvement in their treatment. They want transparency, value, and choices. Patients in this demographic are more likely to do their own research, which help in terms of involvement but also means that they may try to second-guess practitioners.
Millennials have grown up with the expectation that almost everything can be done in real-time and conveniently online, thus patience is often not a millennial’s strongest suit. This trend and feeling is continually branching out through all generations. Millennials expect systems to let them get information and set up appointments online at their own convenience without having to rely on a voice on a telephone.
Are you interested in finding a rewarding and lucrative healthcare career that fits your individual strengths and interests? Find out how education can help you adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of healthcare management degrees, including an MBA Healthcare and Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics.