Millennials and Gen Z are often mistakenly blamed for “killing industries“ as well as wrongly accused of being disconnected and self-absorbed. If you look at the facts, however, you will see that none of these stereotypes are accurate about the majority of today’s younger generations. In all honesty, they are struggling in the face of an uncertain future while stuck with stagnant wages that have long lagged behind the rate of inflation. The truth is that they aren’t intentionally “killing industries.” For the most part, they simply do not have as much disposable income as older generations such as Baby Boomers and Generation X.
As a result of their often tight financial situations, members of these younger generations tend to view their healthcare spending very differently than their elders. In this blog, we will take a look at what the Millennial and Gen Z generations have come to expect from their healthcare providers.
Understanding Millennials & Gen Z
Before we get started, it is probably a good idea for us to clarify the age categories for these younger generations. Members of Gen Z are often mistakenly thought of as Millennials, even though the latter is now completely made up of adults. According to Pew Research, Millennials are designated as those who were born between 1981 and 1996, while Gen Z was born between 1997 and 2019. This means Millennials are currently 25-40 years of age and members of Gen Z are 2-24 years of age (so only the oldest of them have reached adulthood, although more are coming of age every year).
They Are More Involved in Their Care
Members of the Millennial and Gen Z generations have little to no interest in the traditional style of medicine—get sick, go to doctor, get treatment as prescribed by that doctor—and instead prefer to be involved in deciding what treatment will be used. They often come equipped with their own information from online research and expect the doctor to take their input into account. Whereas Baby Boomers are more likely to expect the doctor to be the single source of expertise when it comes to treatment, Millennials and Gen Z expect to be more involved. They also expect to have a more personal and friendly relationship with their providers.
They Prefer Patient Portals & Telehealth
One thing that is important to note is the fact that Millennials and Gen Z have grown up in a highly connected world of high-speed internet. They are “digital natives,” if you will. As a result, they expect to be given as many online options as possible. According to current research, 74 percent of Millennials prefer to see a doctor virtually via telehealth. In addition, 71 percent of Millennials expect to be given the ability to book appointments via mobile apps or patient portals. To meet this demand, practices will need to provide their patients with up-to-date patient portals and telehealth solutions.
They Demand Price Transparency
While governmental regulations are slowly moving toward greater price transparency in healthcare, members of the younger generations are already demanding it from their providers. In fact, one survey found that 41 percent of Millennials wish to be provided with clear price estimates before they will agree to undergo treatment. Another found that 50 percent of Millennials will avoid seeing a doctor in order to save money. Additionally, with Gen Z’s tendency to do their own online research, you should not be surprised if younger patients arrive for an appointment with a pricelist they’ve already compiled. Therefore, providers should try to get ahead of this trend now (instead of getting left behind or scrambling to meet it later) by offering accurate price estimates to their patients prior to procedures.
They Want Alternative Payment Methods
Millennials and Gen Z are very tech savvy when it comes to paying for things. According to one survey, when asked about their familiarity with alternative payment methods, they proved to be more aware than the rest of the population. For example, 84 percent of them were comfortable with online payments (compared to 76 percent for the rest of the population) and 83 percent of them were comfortable with using mobile/digital wallets. This survey also found that over half (53 percent) of Gen Z prefer to shop in stores that accept contactless payments. To keep pace with this trend, which will only grow as more members of Gen Z come into adulthood, practices need to be sure they are offering multiple digital payment methods for patients.
Is your practice ready and able to meet the needs and demands of a new generation of patients? Are you ready for the future or about to be left behind? To learn how Nextech’s suite of products and services can help your specialty practice keep up with the times, fill out this form and a member of our team will be in touch soon!