Just like the baby boomers before them, millennials are making a serious mark on the world and how it works. Health care hasn’t escaped them, and it’s bound to be much different in the upcoming years, as millennials come into their own as the dominant age group. Here’s how they’re already changing things up.
1. Speed and Convenience Are High Priorities
Millennials lean toward retail and acute-care clinics over the primary-care physicians favored by seniors and baby boomers. With the tendency of millennials to be mobile and relocating frequently, it can be tricky for them to see a primary-care doctor regularly. In addition, the rise of remote work and millennial entrepreneurship means less time to get into a doctor’s office that’s only open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Urgent care and retail clinics provide fast and convenient service that works with millennials’ tight schedules and longer working hours. These “doc-in-a-box” clinics provide a place millennials can go when they realize they have a fever at 7 p.m. Look for the dependence on primary-care doctors to lessen even more in the future, while more retail and acute clinics pop up.
2. And This Means They’re Not Loyal Patients
Millennials aren’t worried about making sure they see the same doctor for every little health complaint. They don’t feel the need to build a relationship with one doctor, but rather, they just want to go when they know they need medical attention. It doesn’t matter to them if they visit a retail clinic or a regular doctor’s office, as long as they get the care they want.
Millennial patients may be more likely to be loyal to a practice or company than they are to a doctor. If a physician’s office has a comfortable atmosphere, has flexible appointment times and offers the convenient online options millennials desire, they’re more likely to get a repeat customer. Outdated medical practices that are reluctant to bring technology into their health care plan are more likely to lose or miss out on millennial patients.
3. They Want to Know Exactly What They’re Paying
Hidden costs aren’t flying with millennials. They’re doing online research on what procedures and medicine should cost and comparing insurance premiums so they can get the best deal, instead of just accepting health care at face value. They’re more insistent about getting estimates before treatment so they know if they’ll be able to afford it.
They have a good reason to be concerned about cost. Millennials are plagued with debt from student loans and other life costs, and can’t afford extravagant health care costs on top of that. Many millennials avoid or put off treatment because they know they can’t afford it. This factor is also contributing to the attractiveness of retail clinics, as those places are more likely to have a price list readily available so patients know what they’re getting into.
4. Reviews Are Important
Millennials look at online reviews before trying a new restaurant or choosing a hairstylist, so it only makes sense that they’re going to thoroughly research a new doctor or medical practice before giving them their business. Word of mouth and online reviews are crucial to millennials when it comes to choosing a clinic or primary-care physician.
Millennials are also more likely to freely give reviews or share their medical issues and experience with treatment, which doctors should probably prepare for. Millennials are open and speak their minds if they had a poor or outstanding experience with something. If a doctor doesn’t meet a millennial’s standards or is rude and dismissive, the bad experience will probably lead to a negative Internet review.
5. They’re Interested in the Latest Tech
Millennials are the “digital natives.” And they want the latest tech to cross over into their medical care, too. They want to be able to pay their medical bills and schedule appointments online or with a mobile app. They want personalized feedback that’s specific to their health, and online portals that can help them self-diagnose, so they can visit doctors less.
They’re interested in more high-tech medical techniques, as well. Techniques such as cord blood banking store stem cells that could come in handy later for research or to help treat siblings of the child whose cord blood was stored. With millennials’ focus on education and careers in their 20s and 30s, egg freezing gives them a chance to choose to have children later in life, when they’re settled and have accomplished those career goals.
6. They Focus on Day-To-Day Health
Millennials tend to view health as holistic, encompassing their overall state of well-being instead of strict yearly checkups. They’re spending more on health and fitness products and are willing to take some responsibility into their own hands, with vitamins, supplements and workout regimens.
They’re focused more on making sure they’re eating well and exercising efficiently over doing nothing until something’s wrong, requiring a doctor’s visit. They’re taking proactive, preventive steps that are going to pay off in the long run by saving them visits to the doctor’s office in the future.
Millennials are shaping the health care of the future. Health care practices will have to shift focus to keep up with the desires of millennials — or risk becoming obsolete.