Millennials Adopt Digital Heath Services

February 15, 2019

Unsatisfied with healthcare’s status quo, millennial and Gen Z consumers in the U.S. are paving the way for non-traditional care models, such as retail clinics, virtual and digital services, according to results of an Accenture survey released at HIMSS19.

The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers found striking differences in satisfaction levels between younger and older healthcare consumers, just as millennials in the U.S. become the largest living generation and hold the most power to influence future healthcare models.

Demanding more than the status quo
When considering traditional in-person care, millennials (ages 22 to 38 in 2019) were two to three times more likely than baby boomers (ages 55 to 73) to be dissatisfied with: the convenience of appointment times (16 percent vs. 6 percent); the location/channel of care (13 percent vs. 4 percent); the effectiveness of the care (12 percent vs. 4 percent); and whether the doctor prescribed the medication they expected (10 percent vs. 5 percent). Gen Zers (ages 18 to 21) are even unhappier, with 32 percent dissatisfied with care effectiveness, and 24 percent dissatisfied with the medication prescribed, the location/channel of care, cost of treatment and responsiveness to follow-up questions.

Shifting to virtual, retail clinics, digital care
Slightly more than half (55 percent) of Gen Zers and two-thirds (67 percent) of millennials said they have a primary care physician, compared with 84 percent of baby boomers. Without a primary care physician, some millennials are seeking some types of routine medical services from retail clinics (41 percent) and virtual care (39 percent).

These types of non-traditional methods of care have made rapid inroads across all age groups in recent years, with the survey finding that nearly one-third (29 percent) of respondents have used some form of virtual care — up from 21 percent in 2017 — and almost half (47 percent) have used a walk-in/retail clinic. Further, consumers would prefer non-traditional methods over traditional ones for certain basic medical needs, including cold/virus treatment (65 percent vs. 48 percent), flu shots (62 percent vs. 54 percent) and checking vitals (59 percent vs. 54 percent).

Rising adoption of digital self-service
The use of digital for self-service healthcare is also on the rise. Half (51 percent) of all respondents said they use a wearable or mobile app to manage their lifestyle and healthcare conditions and more than half (53 percent) use virtual nurses to monitor health conditions, medications and vital signs.

Similarly, younger generations are more likely to choose medical providers with strong digital capabilities, such as those who provide mobile or online access to test results (44 percent of millennials vs. 29 percent of baby boomers), electronic prescription refills (42 percent vs. 30 percent), and booking, changing or cancelling appointments online (40 percent vs. 19 percent).

“As more patients take control of their own healthcare, provider organizations must offer meaningful choices that fulfill the needs of all generational groups,” said Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., head of Accenture’s global Health practice. “Providers and payers who stay one step ahead of the shifts and deliver what patients are looking for will be the ones to earn loyalty, navigate disruption and be strongly positioned as the future unfolds.”

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