There are 80 million people making up the 18-34 year old segment today, putting our youngest adult generation at the same size as the Baby Boomer generation. Looking forward, it’s vital to know how the beliefs and behaviors of Millennials (which will make up 50 percent of the working population by 2020) will help influence and shape healthcare institutions, as well as the way we deliver care.
Here are 4 must-know truths about Millennials impacting the way we should approach both patients and team members that fall into this category.
1. Millennials value health.
If you promised to make a Millennial’s life happier, healthier, and more productive, you would have a winning product with Millennials. That’s due in part to how much Millennials value their health, and the idea of being in control of their health. Millennials see technology as one way to improve, track and compare their heath on an ongoing basis, which is different than other generations.
Millennials enjoy quantifiable data regarding their health status, and they often seek out information that can help them better understand their health, whether that be apps or wearable technology. Because of this, any institution incorporating worksite wellness must not just think in terms of the future—but for today—if they want to meet the expectations of this generation.
For physicians, it’s best to keep things concise and in simple terms when speaking to a Millennial about their health. A Millennial is likely someone who seeks information in a simplistic, and in a way they view as being transparent. Just like with older patients, taking time to ask for questions and avoiding jargon greatly improves the physician-patient communication process with 18-34 year-olds.
2. Millennials see technology as the natural way to create and implement programs.
As the so-called first generation of “digital natives,” Millennials are unlike other generations in that they do not view technology as a barrier or something they have to adapt to. Instead, it’s all they’ve ever known, and it’s the way they choose to seek out, filter, and share information.
“Millennials have it in their DNA to understand how data can actually drive decision-making and this genuine relationship-building. At times, that’s not as true with other generations. It’s not just about the data for us at Engage, it’s about the workflow impact and the patient as a whole—and that's someone who is a multifaceted, complex person. Millennials typically have no issue picking up on this. It just seems engrained in their nature,” explains Engage Co-Founder and CEO Michael Pennessi."
3. Millennials see the current healthcare system as flawed.
Not only do Millennials take their health seriously, but they have high expectations when it comes to the healthcare system at large. They hope for a revamped system: one where the patient is truly at the center, and one where treatments are highly accessible. For the digitally-savvy Millennial, they also seek easy-to-understand answers about their health, and that might just mean being able to digest it and access this information in a digital format.
Generally speaking, they look for a system that would be widely accessible and would reflect a community’s core values. In a nurse-centric, physician-led atmosphere, this kind of vision for healthcare can be achieved.
4. Millennials seek authentic communities and team-based organizations.
Just like how other generations value flexibility, Millennials also want to be measured on high quality output—an idea that’s consistent with Engage’s vision of better quality of care ultimately being delivered to patients. Millennials also value efficiency and team-based organizations in general.
Being a part of an organization that is purpose-driven, and/or shows them loyalty, is significant to them; this is what gets them truly engaged. To them, trust is an element built from information coming from their community itself—something that has to be taken into consideration for physicians and medical leaders alike.
Despite the burden many are facing financially, research confirms that Millennials are very optimistic about the future. With increased opportunity for the delivery of care to greatly improve in the coming years, they have good reason for this optimism. Knowing their beliefs in terms of health can help drive engagement for both care team members and in how we approach them as patients.