By Peter Do
Millennials have the power to enact change. According to the US Census Bureau, this group (of people born between 1981 and 1996, myself included) now outnumbers baby boomers by about 8 million. And if we have the power to kill off everything from restaurant chains to paper napkins to the diamond industry, then believe me: millennial healthcare decisions will shape the future of medicine.
Marketing healthcare to millennials means changing the status quo. Recent research from the EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement Health Care Survey (CEHCS) shows that millennial healthcare trends are increasingly changing, and like it or not, practices and hospitals are changing with it. Stay ahead of the competition by finding ways to adapt to these changing trends and expectations.
1. They Expect Healthcare to Be Simpler
As a millennial, I want to be able to schedule a doctor’s appointment online, to easily view my health records, and to touch base with my doctor via a private patient portal. But don’t just take my word for it.
The 2018 CEHCS survey shows that millennials are twice as likely to be interested in the convenience of telehealth as baby boomers. Access to remote healthcare is a priority for millennials—and something that practices and hospitals are finally starting to act on. It’s up to you to keep up.
2. Millennials Are More Diverse than Older Generations
Millennials are far more diverse than older generations, with 44.2% being part of a minority race or ethnic group. That means diversity is key when you develop a marketing strategy and engage with your patients.
That doesn’t mean you can simply throw a few more pictures of diverse families on your website and call it a day. Multicultural marketing in healthcare is about more than representation—it’s understanding the nuances that exist amongst generations of different groups. It’s about culturally relevant campaigns as well as building trust and deeper connections to patients from different backgrounds.
3. They’ve Done Their Research
Millenials want to know what they’re getting into before they make any purchases. We take full advantage of the tools at our disposal to look up details, reviews, and pricing information before making any big decisions—and we want to see value in our purchases.
That includes medical decisions. Your credentials alone may not be enough to win over a millennial. They look up your information—according to the 2018 CEHCS survey, 51% of millennials research the quality or rating of a doctor or hospital (vs. 34% Gen X and 31% Baby Boomers). And they are nearly twice as likely to use an online health cost-tracking tool.
4. Millennials Care What People Say about You
If I’m shopping for anything on Amazon—whether it’s a set of headphones or a pack of kitchen sponges—I pay close attention to the star ratings that product receives. So you’d better believe I read what people are saying about any healthcare providers I’m considering. And the data shows that most millennials agree.
Nearly half of all millennials have researched their healthcare providers, and most put a lot of stake in the reviews they find. Numbers vary from study to study, but around ¾ of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. And as you might guess, that number gets higher with millennials, with some studies citing an 88% trust rate.
5. Millennial Healthcare Preferences Are Closest to the Urgent Care Model
Here’s what I love about the urgent care centers in my area: I don’t have to call ahead, and I’m usually in and out in less than 30 minutes. Hours are usually flexible, and pricing is fairly predictable.
It turns out that a lot of millennials agree; the 2018 CEHCS survey shows that 30% of millennials have used a walk-in clinic (as compared to 14% of baby boomers and 18% of Gen Xers). Another study from PNC Healthcare shows that 34% of millennials prefer to receive care at a retail (pharmacy) clinic, while 25% prefer urgent care.
That doesn’t mean that only urgent care centers will survive this generation, of course. What it does prove is that all practices and even hospitals could benefit from mimicking some of the policies and procedures of urgent care centers, at least in terms of convenience.
6. They Don’t Always Have a Primary Care Physician
Fewer and fewer millennials have a primary care physician they rely on. Only 2 out of 3 millennials have a PCP according to the 2018 CEHCS survey (as compared to 85% of baby boomers and 78% of Gen Xers). And why would they when urgent care offers a more convenient model?
Again, this doesn’t mean primary care providers cannot find a millennial audience. I belong to the 1 in 3 millennials with a primary care physician, and I will remain loyal to her and her team’s level of care for as long as I live in the area. But part of that has to do with how much I feel my PCP values my time.
Savvy healthcare marketers are constantly adjusting to the needs of patients. Customer service and convenience are priorities for millennial healthcare decisions, but overall, patients of any generation appreciate when you put their needs first.