Optimizing your healthcare marketing strategy to win millennials

November 27, 2018
Alex Mangrolia

Millennials are more likely than other age groups to switch providers if they are not getting what they expect from you. Learn how to attract, engage, gain trust, and establish a long-term relationship with the America’s largest generation.

Millennials, the generation that comprises 25 percent of the total U.S. population, check their phones on average 69 times every day. These digital natives use technology differently than older generations. They prefer to shop online, schedule appointments online, and read online reviews of everything from movies to healthcare providers. Nearly 50 percent of millennials and Gen X-ers read online reviews when searching for a healthcare provider, compared to 28 percent of seniors and 40 percent of baby boomers.

The first thing millennials, or Generation Y, do when they have a question about anything, including their own health, is grab their phone. Whether that means querying Google, emailing a friend, or checking their online groups for information, the desired outcome is the same: Millennials want reliable information without compromising convenience.

They want healthcare to be more convenient and do not want to miss work for a medical appointment. Instead, they would rather go to urgent care to get the services they need because it is quicker and easier to be seen-even if there’s a queue. Statistically speaking, millennials are likely at the peak of their health and don’t need frequent appointments to manage several chronic conditions or medications.

The Health Industry Distributors Association surveyed 1,000 patients, and the results highlighted millennials’ desire for convenience, speed of service, and cost effectiveness. Here are some of the findings:

  • Millennials are more than twice as likely as older generations to search healthcare providers on third-party review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List.

  • Almost 43 percent visited an urgent care in the past year, and nearly 23 percent visited a retail health clinic.

  • 33 percent said they waited too long to receive care.

  • 41 percent postponed seeking healthcare because they said it was expensive.

  • 60 percent said cost was a significant factor when evaluating a provider.

  • 32 percent said they would switch providers if they were dissatisfied.

Technology plays an integral role in helping millennials manage their well-being, from wearable devices to calorie-tracking apps to patient portals to online communities. Millennials are educated customers who respect their providers’ education and skill sets, but they do not view physicians as the only health resource. So, in order to stay ahead of the game, healthcare providers must understand how their millennial patients gather and consume healthcare information. Here is some insight into what they expect from their providers:

 

Affordability determines care. Strapped with all kinds of loans, cost is the biggest factor most millennials consider when making critical decisions, including their own healthcare. Unlike older generations, millennials pick insurance plans based on price. In addition, almost 46 percent of millennials are willing to go out of network just to save money. According to a survey, nearly 54 percent of millennials are willing to delay healthcare because of cost. Delaying healthcare can have long-term implications because serious health problems may not be identified until later, when treatment options are more expensive and less effective.

Technology enhances care. Emails, texts, and push notifications through apps are preferred methods of communication to phone calls and mailed appointment reminders. When looking to establish lasting relationships with millennials, it is best to consider the technological trends and use familiar platforms. Most millennials would prefer providers use an app for scheduling appointments for a more efficient experience and recommend preventive care apps to help simplify their life. Millennials want to choose their healthcare provider or facility by comparing prices and reading reviews, which are increasingly important with the rise of high-deductible health plans.

Relationships affect care. When millennials need medical attention, they turn to search engines and other online platforms such as WebMD before visiting their healthcare provider. According to a report, nearly 50 percent of millennials do not have a personal relationship with their physician. In fact, most millennials visit the doctor less than once a year and do not even schedule preventive care visits. They are also likely to cancel an appointment if they are too busy.

Millennials are more focused than older generations on the “wellness” part of their health. For Generation Y, staying fit is not about not getting sick, it is about balancing all facets of life-from controlling stress levels to cultivating positive relationships.

 

Meeting the healthcare needs of millennials

Millennials seem to be displaying a reluctance to engage with the existing healthcare system. This trend is driven by a number of factors, including any unpleasant experiences with healthcare providers, recent changes to the American healthcare industry driven by the Affordable Care Act, and a general lack of trust in healthcare institutions. In addition, millennials are more conscientious about costs, especially those with high-deductible health plans. As a result, they seek advice and care from a wide range of sources and have a more diverse interpretation of health information than older generations.

Given millennials’ declining engagement with the traditional healthcare system and increased self-dependence, healthcare practices need to meet millennials where they are-in their social networks and on emerging online healthcare and channels. By providing preventive healthcare apps and self-help resources, doctors can help millennial patients feel more empowered to make the right choices while gently steering them toward the traditional healthcare system, as necessary.

When it comes to attracting and engaging your millennial patients, keep four things in mind: convenience, patient experience, cost effectiveness, and credibility. In order to keep up with millennials’ desires for care, healthcare practices will need to provide quicker options like online check-ins and one-stop healthcare. With these convenient and tech-friendly healthcare alternatives, practices can attract and retain millennial patients.

Opportunities exist for healthcare providers who can free themselves from their tunnel vision of what healthcare has traditionally been and see the potential for how healthcare can be delivered through products and services that help millennials enhance their lifestyle and well-being.

 

Alex Mangrolia has been in digital marketing for more than 15 years to drive new profitable growth as well as techniques to boost website traffic and leads. He works as Director of Marketing and Product Development for Practice Builders, a healthcare marketing and consulting firm for healthcare practices, hospitals and clinics. Learn more about Alex's capabilities at PracticeBuilders.com.