What Younger Patients Want
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:35 PM

A new survey has found that younger consumers in the U.S. and six other advanced countries are more dissatisfied than older people with characteristics of traditional healthcare.  These characteristics include treatment effectiveness and lack of convenience and responsiveness.

Millennial patients want “convenience, fast service, connectivity, and price transparency." Doctors and health experts, however, worry about “fragmented or unnecessary care, including the misuse of antibiotics” and loss of “care that is coordinated and longitudinal.” It’s as if the needs of the patients and the concerns of doctors are mutually exclusive.  They are not.  The challenge is the current healthcare system does not provide for both.  The authors of the survey concluded that younger consumers are not satisfied with the status quo and are more willing to use nontraditional services.

In November 2005, another survey published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that when judging quality of care, respondents found these traits to be very important:
  • 90% the provider's ability to communicate well
  • 89% getting timely care
  • 85% the ability to easily get care and treatment
  • 81% the ability of doctor or hospital to access complete medical records

In other words, coordinated care is less important than the ease of care and timeliness of care.  If a world existed where one could get great convenient accessible care with the same doctor, wouldn't millennials opt for that?

Given a choice, patients prefer to see a doctor that they know and trust. However, they aren't willing to sacrifice the convenience that we've all come to expect in other aspects of our lives for that relationship alone. Improving engagement at three key touchpoints in a consumer's health care journey could help health care stakeholders improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care.

The youngest adult consumers were the most unhappy with the traditional healthcare delivery experience. Twenty four percent of Gen Zers said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with providers’ responsiveness to follow-up questions outside the appointment, via phone or email, compared with 15% of millennials, 12% of Gen Xers and 11% of baby boomers.

Younger consumers said they were much more likely to choose providers with digital capabilities, such as online appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and access to test results and medical records, 69% of respondents in the new survey said they would be more likely to choose a provider with the capability of communicating through secure email, compared with 53% in 2016.  And 53% said they would be likelier to choose a provider who could remotely monitor their health indicators, compared with 39% in 2016.

The findings show that societal preferences rather than physician relationships are shaping healthcare delivery settings.

"This emerging trend will give health systems an opportunity to brand themselves," and it "shifts the center of gravity" toward patients.

Source:  https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/kevinmd/77973