Healthcare News & Insights

4 strategies for hospitals to meet the needs of Millennials

Millennials are overtaking baby boomers as the largest living generation in the country. And many of them are at an age where they’re the primary decision makers about their own health care, or the health care of young children. Because of this, it’s critical for hospitals to start considering Millennials’ preferences and needs. 

Female PatientAccording to a briefing from the Advisory Board, many hospitals haven’t thought about catering to Millennials. Reason: They’re young and typically healthier than other generations.

However, Millennials have distinct preferences about the healthcare services they do receive. And it’s smart to start courting them now so they’ll be loyal healthcare consumers their whole lives.

Plus, their preferences are also shaping how other generations choose to seek care – so focusing on Millennials’ needs may help with retaining older patients as well.

Keys to draw them in

Here are four ways hospitals can provide care with Millennials’ preferences in mind:

  1. Let patients know about costs upfront. Because Millennials came of age during a recession, and many of them are saddled with large amounts of student loan debt, they’re very sensitive to how much services cost. So before making any decisions about surgeries, hospital stays or other healthcare-related items, they want access to clear pricing information. The push toward price transparency in health care appeals to these patients. They treat health care the same way they would any other consumer purchase. Some hospitals are catering to that philosophy very closely, offering features such as care warranties and refunds on request.
  2. Make care convenient for patients. Millennials value access to care when it works best for them. They don’t like long waits or making multiple trips for tests and X-rays. If they need follow-up appointments with a primary care physician after a hospital stay, they want doctors that offer extended hours and walk-in appointments. That’s why flexibility is crucial. Allowing patients to schedule appointments in advance online for surgeries – or even visits to the emergency department – can be a great way to attract Millennial patients.
  3. Use patient-centered technology. Most Millennials own smartphones, and over a quarter of them have health or fitness apps on these devices. Since they’ve grown up using technology all their lives, they expect it to be part of their healthcare experience as well. According to a survey from the Advisory Board, 21% of Millennials would consider using telehealth technology for virtual visits with a webcam, and 26% would email their doctors. With that in mind, investing in secure patient communication portals and telehealth capabilities would be a wise move for a hospital.
  4. Consider the importance of websites and social media. The common stereotype goes that Millennials pay more attention to their phones than the people around them. But this isn’t entirely accurate. In fact, Millennials are extremely social, putting more weight on the opinions of their friends and family than past generations did. And this affects their healthcare decisions: 53% of Millennials surveyed said they considered their friends and family trustworthy sources for health information, and close to 25% read online reviews of providers before making healthcare-related decisions. A hospital that has a positive online presence (including active social media accounts) with a wealth of information about care quality and services offered is more appealing to a Millennial patient than a facility with a negative or nonexistent online presence.

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