What healthcare providers need to know about millennial patients

20170206150000, Nilufer Hajra
Healthcare providers need to be up-to-date on the latest technological innovations
Millennial patients are those belonging to Generation Y, which is the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. This generation is known for being tech-savvy; it is hence important for healthcare providers to take note of this in their provision of healthcare.

For example, millennials are more likely to access medical information through their smartphones rather than on newspapers. Here are some of the characteristics of millennial patients that will help healthcare providers to decide when it comes to making changes to healthcare systems.

Easy access to healthcare through their smartphones

About 90% of millennials depend on their smartphones for information, mainly because this is convenient and efficient. Their smartphones allow them to access healthcare-related websites, chat rooms, forums, applications and the like.

Because smartphones matter this much to millennials, doctors have to come up with measures that will keep millennial patients engaged. One possible idea is to create a user-friendly - and modern - phone application that contains all the information of the healthcare institution; it can also contain an online feedback form so that users of the phone application can provide constructive feedback and suggestions on how to improve.

Advanced health monitoring

Since millennial patients are more comfortable with using technology to keep their health in check, they are likely to prefer to store information - including health test results - in their mobile device and get these automatically transmitted to their healthcare provider, rather than have a doctor/nurse/etc. consistently follow up with them to obtain these.

To many of them, smartphones are necessary for making lifestyle changes and staying healthy. As such, emphasis should be on keeping up with the times by ensuring built-in automation when it comes to handling and monitoring test results or any other condition/markers that need consistent updates.

Conventional information gathering practices can be tedious in comparison

As most millennials will likely select apps to input the aforementioned readings in their phones, healthcare providers would do well to ride on the convenience of these. Compared to a diary, these apps can also be tweaked to include other relevant medical information that can be useful to doctors, also saving them the inconvenience of having to manually get each individual piece of information.

Often, a pictorial summary of the patient’s readings is also available, displayed in graphs together with the additional and related information, such as exercise, food intake and so on. Most of these medical apps are free, which makes it even easier for millennial patients to be dependent on them.

Seeking advice online before consulting a healthcare professional

Millennial patients are more likely to search for medical advice online before making a visit to the doctor. In fact, before asking for a doctor’s opinions, they tend to seek out opinions on as many online platforms as they can manage.These include medical websites, health resources online, anonymous online chatrooms, forums and many more.

By connecting with people from online communities across the world that could be in the same medical situation as themselves, millennials believe that they are able to obtain accurate medical information; this is especially so if those in the individuals in the online community are facing the same medical condition as them.

Greater trust in close friends and family

Before stepping into a hospital or clinic to see a doctor, many millennial patients would rather listen to the advice their friends and family give. This applies no matter when referring to making the right lifestyle choices, treatment of illnesses. or doctor recommendations. It is unlikely that a millennial patient will visit a doctor that has a bad reputation among his friends and/or family, so all practices would do well to remember that every poor review could have widespread repercussions.

Taking healthcare forward

Millennials are the main reason a good deal of thought and effort is being put into telemedicine by many big corporations. Telemedicine refers to the use of information technology as well as telecommunication to provide clinical healthcare from a distance, eliminating distance barriers and improving access to medical services, which can now be consistently available even in distant rural communities. It can also save lives in critical and emergency situations.

Telemedicine is an important integration for millennials, as many of them want work-life balance and flexibility. Instead of missing work and seeing a doctor, they can make use of telemedicine to meet their healthcare needs.

It is important to note that millennials place strong importance on technology – If healthcare institutions fail to stay up-to-date with the latest medical innovations or fail to make their medical information easily accessible through technology devices, they may become irrelevant to this generation of patients fairly quickly. MIMS

Read More: 
6 of the newest smart tech gadgets set to enhance everyday health
Teaching medical students of the future: High-tech is the way to go
Managing the generation gap between healthcare professionals
Electronic gadgets linked to poor school performance among teenagers

References:
http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/designing-healthcare-age-millennials-baby-boomers
http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/millennials-and-healthcare-25-things-to-know.html
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/02/07/heres-how-millennials-could-change-health-care/79818756/
https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2013/12/8-millennials-traits-you-should-know-about-before-you-hire-them
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telemedicine