As much as healthcare is already undergoing brisk changes, new studies have revealed just how millennial patients are influencing the industry.
Born between 1982 and 2000, Gen Y consists of a wide range of individuals possessing the greatest purchasing power in the U.S. today. Although it’s true in almost any industry, millennial patients are holding healthcare providers to much higher standards than previous generations according to a recent study from HIDA Research & Analytics.
The study comes after a broad survey released last year detailing the impact medical products have on overall patient satisfaction. For healthcare providers aiming to attract and retain millennial patients, these new insights are not to be brushed aside. Apparently, positive first impressions of a provider’s services are critical to winning the business of this diverse and substantial age group.
The survey made it clear that millennial patients pay close attention to the following:
• Costs of care
• Office appearances
• Quality of products and services
Already, millennials are notorious for opting for convenience and retail like immediacy when it comes to most consumer decisions. The popular use of urgent care over traditional appointment-based primary care relationships could suggest millennial patients will continue to choose healthcare to fit their preferences.
According to consulting firm Accenture, there are around 80 million millennials in the United States today, spending nearly $600 billion each year. Clearly, this is one group that healthcare providers want to do good by – yet the real question is how?
What Millennial Patients Demand
To start, the survey emphasized that millennial patients were more than twice as likely to research healthcare locations ahead of time using websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Consumer Reports, and others. 32% reported that they switched providers due to dissatisfaction, a higher rate than previous generations by 12 percentage points.
Another area of consideration for millennials is wait-time. Of those surveyed, 33% reported they had waited too long with 38% claiming their expectations of a provider had not been met after having been seen.
Finally, costs were also shown as being a major factor in whether millennial patients even decided to seek care in the first place. 41% actually postponed seeking healthcare due to the price. Overall, 60% of millennial patients reported that cost influenced their decision on whether or not to leave a healthcare provider.
So what exactly do millennial patient preferences mean for the industry? For one, providers intending to compete with retail-style urgent care centers will need to take notice of what makes these options more appealing. At the same time, assuming consumers will eventually shift to fit the structure of conventional healthcare models seems wishful and naive.
Although urgent care can’t logistically replace the range of specialists and current services offered by primary-care physicians, convincing millennial consumers of that is a different story.
This is particularly challenging considering that the millennial generation comprises people anywhere from roughly age 17 to 35 making their experience of healthcare in and of itself extremely varied. Some may not even be aware of what their parents’ plans offer anywhere, contributing to a greater potential skew in this data. Yet, that’s no reason to ignore the potential effect millennial patients will continue to have on healthcare.