These days you can't throw a rock without hitting some buzz about the way that millennials are shaping our society in new and unprecedented ways. When it comes to the healthcare industry, millennials are affecting the future of the healthcare industry by changing the way patients interact with healthcare professionals and medical technology, according to USA Today.
In past generations, patients were not only expected to have relationships with their doctors, they looked at the experience almost like it was a social visit. For the younger generation today, however, it is simply not the case.
In fact, it is probably more likely that individuals from ages 18 to 34 have a better relationship with someone like their personal trainer, tattoo artist or hair stylist than their doctor. According to a 2015 Salesforce report, more than 50% of millennials in the 18 to 34 age bracket do not have a personal relationship with their physician at all.
Kathy Hempstead, director of insurance coverage for the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation said in a recent interview:
“Older people have sort of gotten used to interacting with healthcare providers in certain ways.”
For millennials, however, that interaction is quite different as many have stated they would not even recognize their doctor if they passed by him or her on the street.
Millennials are more worried about what is happening next. Scheduling an appointment for a routine check-up months in advance is just not on their agenda. Dr. Ron Rowes, chief medical officer of Prominence Health Plan said:
“They’re (millennials) used to reaching out when they need something, getting instant gratification, moving on and only coming back when they have the need again.”
Millennials are the generation of the future and have stated that they would be more interested in virtual experiences than a face-to-face interaction. A recent Harris Poll survey said that 74% of millennials would prefer telehealth compared to 41% of individuals 65 and over.
This younger demographic feels like the current system is outdated and ill-equipped to handle their specific needs. John Packham, director of health policy research at the University of Nevada School of Medicine said:
“Part of it is that they’re healthier, but it’s also how they consume goods and services in general. It’s kind of consistent with them being the generation that doesn’t go to the malls but have Amazon Prime.”
Due to the fact that millennials are, for the most part, healthy, they don’t see the need to visit their doctors on a regular basis and therefore don’t care as much about establishing long-lasting relationships. Furthermore, when millennials make a visit to the doctor’s office, they are content with seeing a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.
Millennials want to schedule appointments and manage preemptive care from their mobile devices. They don’t want to visit the doctor on routine basis to get the same information their smartphone could have told them. While face-to-face interactions are necessary at times, many millennials believe it to be a thing of the past.