Patient Engagement: Working with Millennials

With a population of over 80 million, Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation of healthcare consumers. And just as each generation expresses its own unique preferences for fashion and music, so is the case with preferences for patient engagement in healthcare. The next generation of healthcare consumers are looking for a stronger relationship with providers as well as more innovation on how they connect and communicate.

According to research conducted by Medscape Education and Nuance, Millennials are known for wanting deep, genuine connections with their physicians. Medscape’s study revealed that Millennials are shown to respond most to a physician’s verbal instructions, followed by written and internet communication equally. Nuance’s study, showed that 73 percent of Millennials stated that adequate time for discussion constitutes a better physician visit, and 66 percent said that verbal communication of specific recommendations would also contribute to a good physician visit.

Millennials also have unique preferences when it comes to health technology. In a Salesforce report, researchers determined that 73 percent are interested in their doctors using mobile devices during appointments to share information, and 71 percent would like for their physicians to adopt a mobile application to help manage their healthcare.

Millennials also more open to allowing access to information from wearable devices; using new technology (such as pills that can be used to monitor vitals when swallowed) to monitor health; and leveraging telehealth services as an alternative to in-person office visits.

These unique preferences of Millennials will mean a change in approach for most providers. What works for your Baby Boomers will not resonate with this generation. You will have to take into account preferences of personal exchange by building in more discussion and face-to-face time with patients. And you will have to offer new ways of communicating by offering mobile apps, online portals and connections to wearable devices. As you continue down the road of healthcare evolution, bear in mind the preferences of your largest demographic.

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