Healthcare Transformation, Millennial-Style

Millennials Driving Healthcare Changes

We’ll let you in on a secret. If you want to know what path healthcare will take in the next decade, just follow the Millennials.

Don’t believe it? Take a look at how their demands for “ease and frugality” have given rise to a number of highly successful consumer services, like ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft, and stay-like-a-local hotel alternative Airbnb. By placing more value on experiences than material possessions (Forbes 2017), they’re pushing businesses – including healthcare – to rethink how to approach the market and they’re welcoming entrepreneurs and innovators with open arms.

Millennials by definition

At 79 million strong,[i] Millennials are the largest generation and quickly approaching their prime working, spending, and decision-making years. Born between 1981 and 1996,[ii] they represent a generation shaped by a significant economic recession, the rise of the internet, and the introduction of a mobile, always-on culture. They are the most racially- and ethnically-diverse generation, socially conscious, the largest in the labor force, and set to make most of the healthcare decisions in the country over the next couple of years.[iii] Their views on health and healthcare – and expectations of it – differ from that of other generations, too.

“If it doesn’t provide ease of access at a reasonable cost, and we aren’t passionate about it, we ain’t buying. Period.” – Ashley Stahl, Forbes contributor

Millennial healthy

Take for instance how the generations define being healthy. For Millennials, eating right and exercising are just as important as not getting sick and maintaining a healthy weight, whereas for Baby Boomers, not getting sick and maintaining a healthy weight trump diet and regular exercise.[iv] Then there’s each generation’s preference for convenient care. Millennials prefer retail care and acute care clinics at nearly double the rate of GenXers and Boomers who prefer visiting their primary care physicians, and 41% of Millennials are more inclined to get cost estimates from their providers prior to undergoing treatment, compared to 21% of Boomers.[v]

Teaming up with GenX (and even Baby Boomers)

It’s not all divided, though. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of all consumers want virtual care options[vi] and two-thirds of Millennials and GenXers would switch providers for the ability to book an appointment online.[vii] Half of Millennials and GenXers rely on peer reviews from services like Yelp and Healthgrades, along with online research, to make healthcare decisions.[viii] And notably, Millennials and GenXers are more likely than Baby Boomers to delay treatment due to cost concerns, at 54% and 53%, respectively.[ix]

The take-away

What does it all mean? Millennials are redefining what it means to consume healthcare, and the post-Millennial generation to come will push the industry even further in terms of choice, service, affordability, and convenience. Baby Boomers and GenXers may hold different views of healthcare, but will benefit from the changes being driven by a generation conditioned to expect instant gratification and limitless possibilities.

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[i] Richard Fry, 5 Facts about Millennial Households; (Pew Research Center, Sept. 6, 2017);

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] MobileSmith, How Millennials are Redefining Healthcare Today: Are You Behind? (2018).

[iv] Aetna, What’s your healthy? An Aetna Survey, (June 2013).

[v] PNC Healthcare, Five Ways Tech-Savvy Millennials Alter Health Care Landscape, (2015).

[vi] Dave Barkholz, Consumers want virtual-care options, (Modern Healthcare, Feb. 10, 2017).

[vii] Dave Muoio, Survey: Patients prefer online provider searches to referrals, especially if they’re young, (MobiHealthNews, Nov. 7, 2017).

[viii] PNC Healthcare, Five ways.

[ix] Ibid.