Millennials Want to Get to Know You
ThinkWell Vol. 1
Lynn O’Connor Vos
Chief Executive Officer
ghg | greyhealth group
Mass consumerization of healthcare along with dramatic technological innovation, greater power for women, and the growing influence of millennials, will continue to create an environment that is ripe for change. Patients’ voices will continue to gain traction, and notions of patient centricity will finally start to translate into healthcare practices and cultures that are more open, more engaging, and more accountable. Healthcare will become even more of a customer service industry. Empowered patients will take further control of their own healthcare and disease education. Communication will continue to be of the utmost importance. And there will be new rules to play by:
- THERE IS A NEW HEALTH CUSTOMER. The new health customer is defined by generation and gender. Millennials, in particular, will continue to drive change in the healthcare sector, and they have high expectations. They want to engage with healthcare professionals (HCPs) as equals, communicating with both practitioners and brands via apps and social media. They highly value brand engagement, with 62 percent saying that if a brand engages with them on social networks they are more likely to become a loyal customer.
Millennials also like to take health matters into their own hands. They believe in doctors on demand, retail medicine, and telemedicine. Currently, one in twenty Google searches relates to healthcare, and there are roughly 4 million health support groups on Facebook. In fact, many millennials see their doctors as merely secondary sources of information, the Internet being the primary source.
Women make most healthcare decisions for their families, friends, and communities, and will continue to do so. Today 59 percent of women make healthcare decisions for others, and they span all generations. They determine nutritional choices, lifestyle choices, vaccinations, adherence to taking medications, and arrangement/keeping of medical appointments. But this responsibility can take its toll. Decision making can be a time-consuming and difficult responsibility, and women often worry that they are not fully knowledgeable on how to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy.
This means that they are not always confident in the healthcare decisions they make. The woman of 2020 will want to be better informed about all aspects of health and wellness, and she will need support.
- THE MILLENNIAL DEFINITION OF “HEALTH” IS DIFFERENT THAN WE THINK. Different generations define “health” differently. Millennials view spiritual and emotional well-being as essential elements of health, along with nutrition, work life, and a sense of community. In fact, health-related activities like exercise and eating well are considered essential parts of this generation’s lives rather than just additions. For Generation X, health is about being well-rested and free of illness. Baby boomers, too, consider the absence of illness to be an essential element of health. And access to quality healthcare and mental health define health for the Silent Generation. All the generations include being happy and physically fit in their definitions of health, while being free from stress is important to all but the Silent Generation.
- TECHNOLOGY MATTERS. The digital revolution will continue to create better health outcomes. Not only will this come from greater access to information, but it will also derive from greater access to more people, more solutions, and the inherently female predisposition toward sharing and connectivity that is at the root of behavioral change. Already, 73 percent of millennials want doctors to use mobile devices during exams, and 71 percent want mobile apps to actively manage preventive care, records, and appointments. In 2016, revenue from sales of wearable medical devices is up to $28.7 billion, and one forecast anticipates that figure to grow to $59 billion by 2020.
- TRUST MATTERS MORE. Today’s healthcare decision maker suffers in four crucial areas: knowledge, time, trust, and confidence. Hopefully, all of these will grow stronger over the next three years, but engaging the consumer for healthy outcomes will continue to require building trusted, two-way relationships. It will require a left-brain and right-brain orientation that takes into account the emotional component of decision making, especially with matters of health. In order to earn and retain the trust of tomorrow’s healthcare consumers, pharmaceutical companies will need to engage with them directly and become more transparent. They will need to provide clear information along with their prescriptions to help people understand risks and side effects. They will need to provide gender- and ethnic-specific drug recommendations. They will need to provide comprehensive product information on their websites.
They will need to be available by phone 24/7 to answer questions or concerns about their prescriptions. And 75 percent of millennials think it is also important that a company gives back to society rather than just making a profit.
- TO WIN, CONNECT THE DOTS “Communication is the cure” means not being satisfied by merely arming consumers with knowledge and information, but partnering and engaging with them. At the end of the day, it’s not products or technology that will change outcomes. Communication will be the key to helping consumers make better decisions, adopt more positive behaviors, adhere to treatment, and live healthier lives.