13 Mar Reaching Millennials: Tips for Health Care Practices
In a previous post, we talked about how the millennial generation has new tendencies and habits when it comes to getting health care. The best way for private care practices to stay ahead of the game and attract a dwindling millennial client base is to adapt to the behaviors of the younger population. How can a practice adapt? Meet millennials where they are: online.
As we have all come to know, most millennials are inextricably attached to their smartphones. Millennials, when faced with a health issue, often turn to their smartphone first for information on what might be ailing them. Millennials use smartphones to visit sites like WebMD to research and to consult with online communities for health care information. Millennials are also increasingly using wearable technology, such as Fitbits and Apple Watches, to gather personal health data. This willingness and desire to incorporate available technology into their health care decisions has led millennials to a view that health care providers are not their sole reliable source of health care information.
In order to attract and retain millennial patients, providers have to acknowledge this growing population’s demands. Since technology is already a large part of their lives, providers should consider utilizing technology to communicate with their patients. Millennials, and increasing numbers of other generations, prefer texting, messaging, and push notifications as the primary method of communication. Most millennials prefer to use an app rather than a phone call to schedule appointments for a more efficient experience. Many would also appreciate if a provider’s app recommended additional endorsed preventive care apps to help simplify their lives. Incorporating technology into a wellness practice is exceedingly important in order to attract and retain millennial patients.
Employing technology in a practice can involve much more than alternate forms of communication and the use of apps. Some practices are experimenting with video conferencing visits for patients which allows a patient to see a provider and receive treatment without leaving their home or office. Many practices are also utilizing patient portals allowing patients to schedule appointments, view upcoming appointments, view test results and communicate with their provider. Additionally, transmitting prescriptions electronically to the patient’s pharmacy of choice also satisfies the desired convenience factor these millennials expect and demand.
Price is also a significant factor to millennials in choosing an appropriate health care provider. High-deductible health plans have become standard practice, and most millennials are on these high-deductible plans. Offering price transparency and even posting treatment rates on-line will attract more millennial patients because they can know exactly what the care will cost before they even venture into the office.
Millennials are also drawn to social media platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. A practice with an appealing social media presence that is updated regularly can help attract and retain millennial patients. Some medical providers have gone so far as inviting their patients to become followers on their personal Instagram and Facebook pages to create a closer relationship and familiarity between provider and patient.
Millennials view the world, and health care, much differently than previous generations. As revealed in the surveys noted above, a majority of the millennials questioned do not value or even think it is important to have a primary care provider guiding their overall health care. Thus, it is very important for primary care practices to establish themselves as significant, relevant, and indispensable to millennials. Primary care practices that communicate in ways that millennials prefer using apps and technology to make patients’ lives easier and who have transparent pricing will help entice and engage millennial patients. Attracting and retaining millennial patients will help primary care practices grow, remain viable, and be equipped to provide care to the entire community they serve.