Recent research on how people ages 18–34 (often called millennials) use healthcare delivers good news and bad news for medical practices. First, the bad: Few millennials—fewer than 10%—schedule preventive physician visits, and fewer than half visit a physician once a year.1 The good news? Millennials say physicians are their most trusted resource for healthcare information, and they’re also more likely to follow health maintenance recommendations than older patients.
The bottom line: Making patient encounters with millennials more productive can lead to healthier outcomes for your patients and millennials as a whole, and better financial performance for your practice. The other good news? There is a solution to help you do just that—but we’ll get to that later. First, a quick look at how millennials view their healthcare—and you.
Many millennials get healthcare through private exchanges so they are “in the market,” so to speak—and they never walk into anything blind. It’s almost guaranteed that before they even set foot into a restaurant or retail store for the first time, they’ve done their homework, and physicians’ offices are no different. According to a Nuance Communications survey, more than half of millennials use online reviews before scheduling a medical appointment.2 And what do they look for? Efficient and informed practices that care about their patients. This is where the decrease in millennial healthcare activity begins: If they (1) can’t find information online about your practice or (2) find negative reviews from their peers, they will not be seeking your care.
And make no mistake: These reviews are not just based on the care they receive, but also on the process they went through to obtain that care—from how long they were sitting in the waiting room to the amount of paperwork they filled out while there, every detail matters and can easily spark a note of positivity or a feeling of dissatisfaction.
However, when one-on-one time with their doctor does begin, the details become even more pertinent to a positive patient experience. Millennials value information, and they have significant appreciation for well-rounded displays of knowledge. This means they don’t enjoy being asked questions they think you should already know the answers to. They respect anyone who knows more than they do, which puts an informed physician at the top of the list.
Additionally, millennials especially don’t like to feel hurried during their visit. According to recent evidence, 73% of millennials say “time for discussion” is the biggest contributor to better care, yet 40% report feeling rushed during their doctors’ appointments.3 As the most health-conscious generation yet, they have questions about their health, and having the time with their doctor to answer these questions is critical.
Ultimately, a spot-on diagnosis means nothing without a patient’s cooperation and trust in the guidance they are given. This is why it is important to note that millennials are much more likely to follow through on recommendations offered with a more informed presentation of clinical advice. They need to know their physician understands their situation in its entirety before they follow through on any guidance. When they do feel this way, it is almost guaranteed that they will return to your office in the future, stay loyal, and recommend you to their peers. Millennials who feel they had a positive experience are also inclined to share that experience with the world. Leaving positive (or negative) reviews online is a part of a millennial’s daily routine. And here the cycle begins again, with a review that leads the next millennial to seek the “excellent experience” your last patient received.
A solution: Data Diagnostics®
With millennials presenting such a strong desire for efficiency and in-depth discussions, medical practices need better tools to address those desires. Data Diagnostics from Quest Diagnostics is a new analytics tool created to help meet these needs while encouraging efficiency and improving overall quality of care. How? By allowing physicians to access more relevant data about their patients. Picking up where your EHR leaves off, Data Diagnostics integrates a practice’s patient data with claims data and data from two of the world’s largest clinical datasets to enable physicians to obtain more complete pictures of their patients’ medical histories. It delivers quality-, historical data-, and risk score-related prompts to alert physicians to consider certain actions and provide early insight into potential future problems. This makes your time more productive, your patients’ outcomes more likely to improve, and everyone’s experience more positive—all of which leads to the ultimate goal of improving the quality of care you provide.
Not just millennials
Of course, millennials aren’t the only generation seeking what is coming to be known as value-based care. Baby boomers are aging and requiring more (and in many cases more complex) healthcare. These older patients share behavioral similarities with millennials in that they also research providers and healthcare topics, and they trust their physicians. Like millennials, a lack of information or poor communication leads to a negative experience. However, these chronic testers have accumulated more medical history to factor in, meaning more potential gaps in their electronic health records. For this population, including Medicare and Medicare Advantage patients, Data Diagnostics can help in the same way it can assist you with your millennial patients. For example, it can support more accurate coding, including risk adjustment, so that your older patients’ disease burdens are accurately documented.
Their healthcare needs may differ, but your younger and older patients all now need and want value-based care. For them and for you, solutions like Data Diagnostics can add value to the mix.
Interested? Learn more about Data Diagnostics and view a sample report today.
- Barnet S. Millennials and healthcare: 25 things to know. Becker’s Hospital Review. Available at http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/millennials-and-healthcare-25-things-to-know.html. Accessed June 8, 2017.
- Comstock J. 54 percent of millennials look online before choosing a doctor. Mobi Health News. August 31, 2015. Available at mobihealthnews.com/46432/survey-54-percent-of-millennials-look-online-before-choosing-a-doctor. Accessed June 8, 2017.
- Nuance Communications. How Millennials shop for healthcare in a digital world. Available at slideshare.net/NuanceInc/how-millennials-shop-for-healthcare-in-a-digital-world?utm_source=millennial-patient-press-release&utm_medium=nuance&utm_campaign=art-of-medicine-2. Accessed June 8, 2017.