Meeting evolving patient demands is essential to continuity in today’s competitive care space. Since preferences regarding communication and expectations for digital engagement can vary greatly based on patient demographics, many health systems have been able to get by without adopting modern channels or changing their strategies. But the dominant demographics for patient populations are changing, and the “patients of tomorrow” are here today.
Millennial and Gen Z patient populations are quickly outpacing Gen X and Boomers. In fact, census data indicates that 2020 was a tipping point, giving younger generations the edge by .7%. This means healthcare providers are facing a whole new set of expectations for everything from care delivery to cost. It also means a major shift in communication preferences and tolerance for customer service-related failures…
Two areas that are ruled largely by patient access.
Younger demographics’ preferences are mostly motivated by convenience. These generations are more likely to book telehealth appointments and skip a traditional PCP relationship for periodic visits to urgent care. They treat their access experience the same way. Convenient appointment times are a major driver of Millennial and Gen Z patient satisfaction, nearly twice as much as older generations. And don’t ask them to wait. While this is a sticking point for patients in any demographic, younger patients are far less tolerant— surveys indicate that many chose their provider based on the shortest time to be seen.
This translates to their phone experience as well.
Younger generations have higher expectations for digital engagement. While most prefer to speak to a live human, they still want the option to make changes to their appointment or request refills online and communicate with their providers via email— mobile-friendly is a must. Younger generations, particularly Gen Z, are digital natives: that is, few remember a time before smartphones. This alone establishes certain expectations for contact that other generations don’t have, like text message reminders and mobile-friendly patient portals.
The expectations for a customer-service-oriented experience are also much higher among younger generations. A recent survey found that a “compassionate attitude” during phone interactions mattered twice as much to younger demographics. They also expect a timely, if not immediate, response from their providers. Younger demographics are more likely to switch providers after a negative experience and are more vocal about their dissatisfaction as well. On the flip side, Millennials and Gen Z are more willing than older generations to pay more for a better experience.
Healthcare has been anticipating the rise of the younger generations for some time, and while it remains a hot topic many fail to realize that future is now. Organizations that take the initiative to modernize their patient experience will thrive in what will inevitably become an even more competitive market, while those who hold tight to the old ways, like the generations that preferred them, will slowly fade...
Ultimately, the choice is yours.
Envera Health can assist you in creating a superior patient experience fit for the modern healthcare consumer.