Millennials and Gen Z Are Driving Changes in Healthcare

millennials and gen z changing healthcare

Millennials and Gen Z are looking for convenient, patient-centric healthcare options. To keep up with these new preferences, HCPs may need a change in strategy.

It’s no secret that Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z (born 1997 and later) have different values than older generations. When it comes to lifestyle, culture, and politics, Millennials and Gen Z are constantly paving new ground.

According to a recent study from Accenture, young Americans also have unique ideas when it comes to healthcare. With increasingly electronic, out-of-clinic, and alternative healthcare choices, Millennials and Gen Z are posing new challenges — and opportunities — for healthcare providers and medical marketers. 

Virtual Communication with HCPs

Young Americans are all about convenience, which carries over into their perspective on healthcare. In fact, over a quarter of Millennials are bothered by traditional healthcare’s lack of convenience, and they are more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to go to the ER instead of the clinic.

To satisfy changing expectations, healthcare providers must begin to meet young people where they are. For instance, mobile communication with HCPs — such as scheduling and canceling doctor’s appointments through text messages and sharing lab results via email — has shown much promise in engaging Millennial and Gen Z patients. 

Treatment Online, from Your Phone 

According to the Pew Research Center, over 92 percent of Millennials own a smartphone — and the number is rising. For Gen Z, mobile technology appears to be having an even more momentous impact on daily life, with the average teen spending about nine hours of screen time per day. The internet is where young Americans go to relax, to chat, to entertain themselves — and, almost universally, to find healthcare information. 

The ubiquitousness of technology among Millennials and Gen Z shows that, to re-engage young Americans with in-clinic healthcare, HCPs should provide more opportunities for mobile engagement than just virtual communication. The Accenture study indicates that, compared to older generations, Millennials and Gen Z prefer booking their appointments online, refilling prescriptions online, and receiving healthcare reminders online. Moreover, a majority of young Americans prefer to monitor their health indicators, like insulin levels and blood pressure, using remote technology. 

Nontraditional Treatment Solutions

Lack of convenience isn’t the only reason young Americans’ are dissatisfied with the healthcare industry. The Accenture report shows nearly a third of Gen Z and a large number of millennials are unhappy with traditional treatment solutions like check-ups and in-clinic care. As a result, young people are increasingly turning to nontraditional solutions. Walk-in and retail urgent care clinics are used by 47 percent of young Americans, indicating that Millennials and Gen Z often see these options as preferential to traditional medical care. 

Young Americans are also seeking nontraditional healthcare options to alleviate mental and physical health problems. Yoga, vitamins, supplements, and therapy are all growing aspects of young people’s unique healthcare regimens. 

What Does This Mean for Medical Marketers? 

Within the next few years, Millennials are predicted to become the largest generational group in American history. With this demographic shift comes a sink-or-swim challenge for healthcare providers: adjust your marketing to suit young people’s new attitudes, or risk irrelevancy.

There isn’t just one way to market medical services to Millennials and Gen Z, however. Medical marketers are already using creative methods such as social media targeting, pay-per-click ads, mobile-optimized sites, and click-to-call ads to meet young people where they are. With the revolution in mHealth quickly approaching, medical marketers and HCPs alike need to stay vigilant on new ways to meet young patients on their mobile devices.

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