Wondering whether it’s true that younger healthcare consumers really do want something different from their healthcare? A new study released at #HIMSS19 last week suggests that their expectations really are very diverging from those of previous generations.
Accenture recently surveyed more than 2,000 consumers about their healthcare preferences to find out how they want to access care. The data suggests that there’s a significant difference between consumers born after 1981 (millennials and Gen Z) and other demographic groups.
For example, primary care is playing much less of a role in the healthcare habits of younger patients. Just 67% of millennials and 55% of Gen Z have primary care doctors, compared with 84% of baby boomers and 76% of Gen Xers. That may be because they aren’t liking what they get, with 32% of Gen Z and 12% of millennials reporting some level of dissatisfaction with face-to-face care.
Another notable trend that emerged from the survey was the public’s increasing level of interest in digital health services. Accenture found that 70% of respondents were more likely to choose a provider that offers reminders for follow-up care via email or text, up from 57% in 2016, and that 69% wanted to communicate with their provider via secure email, up from 53% in 2016. What’s more, 53% were more likely to use a provider offering remote/telemonitoring services, compared with 39% in 2016.
This interest in digital health was especially pronounced when comparing millennials and baby boomers. The survey found that 44% of millennials were more interested in providers that offered mobile or online access to test results, compared with 29% of baby boomers), and that millennials led boomers when it came to preferences for electronic prescribing (42% vs 30%) and managing appointments online (40% vs. 19%).
Also, the number of consumers trying virtual care is increasing, with 29% of respondents saying they’d used some form of virtual care, compared with 21% in 2017. Virtual care also appeals to patients with more complex needs, with 26% saying they’d seek out routine therapy/mental health care online (26%), physical injury treatment (24%) and sexually-transmitted disease screenings/treatment (23%) via this channel.
Gen Z, in particular, is partial to alternate care delivery models, with 55% saying that they’d routinely use a virtual PCP and 48% a virtual specialist. Millennials are turning to non-traditional care models like retail clinics (41%) and virtual care (39%).
Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly turning to digital tools for what Accenture calls “self-service healthcare,” with 51% stating that they use a wearable or mobile app to manage lifestyle and healthcare conditions, and 53% using virtual nurses to monitor health conditions, medications and vital signs.