The healthcare market is changing, and so are the people. Millenials are now the largest workforce in the U.S, estimated to spend $200 billion annually by 2017. As the largest workforce, they are the biggest market for the healthcare provider. To understand this spirited bunch, we must recognize the generational differences they bring from an age of information connectivity and social networking. For example, as the most mobile generation, how would mobile technology such as telemedicine appeal to them? Or, how would they appreciate the interoperability a National Patient Identifier might bring in an age of rampant data-sharing? Our friends at 8×8 wrote a great post on how to understand millennials, and here we give a couple of tips in a healthcare perspective.

  1. Millenials have the same career goals as older generations

According to a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value comparing Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, Millenials have similar career goals as other generations. Some them we all can relate to, such as:

  • Making a positive impact on his/her organization
  • Helping solve social and/or environmental challenges
  • Diversity in the workplace

Even though it’s hard to believe, Millenials are actually quite similar to other generations. You may not need to make drastic adjustments or strategies to capture the hearts of these Bieber- or Arianne-obsessed adults. Just treat them like human beings. However, the most significant difference is the level of technology literacy among Millenials. They have higher expectations when it comes to customer and employee experience with technology, so catering to them with technology may be very necessary. They experience increased face time with mobile devices, so technology like telemedicine and electronic health record (EHR) software with patient portal capabilities can provide appealing.

  1. Millennials still value personal interaction

Technology is a great tool for interaction, but Millenials do not believe it is the end-all for customer service. The same IBM study found that Millenials still prefer face-to-face interaction when learning new skills in the workplace. A great provider is one that uses patient-forward technology, and Millenials should be able to schedule appointments, make online payments, and receive online consultations, as well as have the ability to experience meaningful doctor visits.

Additionally, the steps to reach a face-to-face visit should be quick and easy. They are not used to the relentless droning of dial-up or 56k modems, which have built up our patience for slow technology. They want lightning fast ways to reach a personal connection.

  1. Be fully aware of how much Millenials output on social media

Millenials can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Millenials live and breathe through social media tools like Facebook, Yelp, and Twitter, where they can praise your practice to the highest peaks, or slander you into the mud. I recently wrote a piece on the impact of social media on Cosmetic Surgery, which lends to this point. A recent survey by cosmetic surgery community website RealSelf found almost half of the 527 interviewees cited social media as an influence in getting cosmetic surgery. Not many realize that the influence of social media is more than just patients wanting to get surgery; patients are using social media as a place of review and consultation, to find what to get and where to get it.

In an article in the Dermatology Times, Tom Seery, founder, and CEO of RealSelf notes, “Connectivity has forever changed the ways prospective patients engage with your practice. Patients today are highly influenced by what others say. They look to partner with you in the decisions about their procedure or treatment,” notes Seery. “In aesthetics, we’ve seen that half of the consumers researched a treatment for more than one year. In this information gathering, people trust opinions of their peers, mainly reviews, and information posted by medical experts, such as answers to questions,”

Millenials are quite often free marketing tools which can work to a provider’s benefit. Shares and reviews are often viral in nature, which can kickstart your practice in whatever area you practice in.

Understanding Millenials to Understand Social Media Marketing

By understanding Millenials, you will understand social media marketing. We live in an era where everything and everyone is connected to the Internet—Millenials are merely the first generation that has grown up and fully absorbed this facet of life. As a provider, harnessing social media to use it as a positive marketing tool will help you stand out in a highly competitive healthcare market.

By extension, partnering with those who understand social media marketing, like PrognoCIS, will give you allow you to maximize your social media presence from all angles. Social media marketing is an investment; you put in time and effort to connect with patients and you will reap the benefits of online brand positivity, a wider audience base, and increased financial success.

Picture Credit: Clokka/Flickr

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