Research by Accenture reveal the extent to which millennials and Gen Z feel dissatisfied with the current healthcare industry in the United States and how that can change.
By J.T. RIPTON | Oct 22, 2019 at 1:14 PM
The healthcare industry is changing as younger generations demand a more flexible, efficient, convenient system.
Research by Accenture revealed the extent to which millennials and Gen Z feel dissatisfied with the current healthcare industry in the United States. The company’s 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey questioned more than 2,000 respondents across different age groups to assess how different generations perceive the level of medical services available.
The survey highlights how and why younger people are driving changes across the healthcare industry, leveraging the technology they use every day to do it. Here are five of the biggest findings.
1. Increasing demand for electronic prescriptions
Younger consumers with 24/7 online access to products, services and information are accustomed to convenience. Roughly 68 percent of millennials expect brands to offer omnichannel accessibility for consistency across different devices, and 77 percent of Accenture’s respondents are more likely to choose healthcare providers offering electronic prescription refills (up from 67 percent in 2016).
Roughly 24 percent of Gen Zers and 13 percent of millennials were unhappy with the “convenience of the location or channel” of their current healthcare provider. Just 4 percent of baby boomers and the silent generation agreed.
Ordering medication online is much more convenient than traveling to a clinic, especially when e-prescriptions can be refilled via mobile websites/apps.
2. Interacting with online doctors
Roughly 39 percent of millennials are willing to use virtual care to interact with a healthcare provider, and 29 percent have already done so (up from 21 percent in 2017).
Speaking with an online doctor is more convenient and less time-consuming than visiting them in person. Appointments may take place while the patient is at home, at work or even commuting — wherever they have access to the internet. Online consultations may be easier to fit into schedules without needing to consider traveling or possible delays while waiting.
Online doctors using cutting-edge video technology can assess physical symptoms or injuries more effectively than they could by phone. Patients face less pressure to articulate issues verbally and may receive more accurate advice.
3. Younger generations want online access to test results
Younger generations are more likely to use healthcare providers offering access to test results online or via mobile. Nearly 44 percent of millennials consider this a priority, compared to just 29 percent of baby boomers.
With millennials spending more than eight hours each day on their devices and Gen Z 10-plus hours (on average), the demand for online/mobile access to test results comes as little surprise. One quarter of millennials check their phone more than 100 times per day and the average Gen Zer checks theirs every three minutes.
Creating an appointment for a face-to-face or phone discussion about test results is an impractical solution for generations used to managing their life via a smartphone. But with 60 percent of Gen Zers refusing to use a mobile website or app if it loads slowly, healthcare providers must make sure they deliver the level of service expected.
4. More freedom to book appointments online
Roughly 74 percent of millennials questioned by Salesforce felt the option to book appointments online was “highly important”. Nearly 64 percent of patients book medical appointments digitally, almost double 2016’s figure (34 percent).
Booking, canceling and rescheduling meetings with a healthcare provider through a website or app is quicker than needing to call a clinic. It eliminates the risk of being placed on hold or bounced between different members of staff.
“Consumers expect in healthcare the simplicity and convenience they get from other industries,” according to Brian Kallis, Managing Director of Digital Health at Accenture. Younger generations are well-versed in scheduling events through social media, buying movie tickets online and choosing plane seats from a seating plan. As Mr. Kallis notes, healthcare providers must follow suit.
5. Taking responsibility to stay healthy
Healthcare providers offering advice/treatment based on data gathered via wearable devices may be more engaging to younger generations.
Accenture’s 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey found that 51 percent of respondents manage their healthcare conditions and lifestyle with a wearable device or mobile app. Technology allows them to take more responsibility for their health than previous generations could.
Millennials are more likely to take the initiative in researching medical issues, too. This demographic admits to holding little trust in medical professionals, with 55 percent viewing online resources as equally reliable. Similarly, Gen Z is “less trusting of brands […] because they’ve grown up in an era where information was available at all times,” according to Emerson Spartz, CEO of Dose.
Millennials are more dedicated to eating healthier foods and staying fit than older generations, while Gen Zers are more willing to pay more for healthy products than older age groups.
Healthcare providers need to revise the way they deliver care and interact with patients to build trust in younger generations. Taking the time to explore their community’s expectations may enable medical professionals to stay relevant, as technology increases the availability of healthcare tools and information.