Most of us here in the United States are used to the traditional health care delivery model: A fee-for-service delivery system, where private insurance companies or patients themselves pay for services received. This includes everything from standard office visits to surgical procedures.
The roles between patients and health care providers are clear-cut and usually leave little room for flexibility or innovation, though during the last several years, recent reforms and policies have begun to change this system. The main driving force with a dramatic impact for change on our existing health care system: Millennials.
In March 2018, the Pew Research Center officially defined millennials as people born between 1981 and 1996. Older millennials and younger millennials likely feel differently about several things, but what they all have in common is that they were part of the internet explosion. Most of them were between the ages five and 20 when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened, which should form their adult lives. So did the economic recession of 2008, which happened when many millennials were entering the workforce. “Many of Millennials’ life choices, future earnings and entrance to adulthood have been shaped by this recession in a way that may not be the case for their younger counterparts. The long-term effects of this “slow start” for Millennials will be a factor in American society for decades.”
More than any other generation millennials and the way they communicate and interact have been shaped by technology, especially by the expansion of the internet. Unlike generations before, millennials had access to new technologies, computers and the internet right from the start. This way of growing up in a world technologically developing at high speed dramatically impacted their lifestyle choices, behaviors, and ways of communication.
When the iPhone launched in 2007, the oldest post-Millennials were ten. “By the time they were in their teens, the primary means by which young Americans connected with the web was through mobile devices, WiFi and high-bandwidth cellular service. Social media, constant connectivity and on-demand entertainment and communication are innovations Millennials adapted to as they came of age.”
So how does all this influence health care?
In 2014, the number of millennials in the United States exceeded the number of baby boomers stated by the Census Bureau. The Census counted approximately 83.1 million millennials, compared with 75.4 million baby boomers.
Growing up in an “always on” technological world where “transparency, rapid delivery, and convenience are the norm, they’re now transferring these expectations to the healthcare industry, which has profound implications for healthcare providers and care outcomes.”
Millennials are expecting fast tech solutions, fast delivery of care, telemedicine adoption, a fee-for-outcome model, and consumer-oriented services. They would rather engage with their providers through digital health technology. The old office-based primary care model is less important to them, and they are turning towards potential alternatives like the merger of health insurer Aetna with drugstore network CVS for affordable medical services. Millennial expectations fit into the “general consumers’ growing tendency to avoid or delay care because of concerns about the growing cost of healthcare insurance and high patient deductibles.”
It is still in the early stages for Millennials to transform traditional health care models, as this generation is still young and healthy. But their influence will grow in importance. As they start using medical facilities more, there will be a demand for technically-savvy providers that know and use the latest tech for better service.
We at PCG are here to help your organization prepare for future transformations. Visit us at https://primeauconsultinggroup.com