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Entitled Millennials: Will They Change Healthcare?

September 30,2015

Times are changing. The doctor’s bag of years gone by needs some new tools.  The 75 million internet-empowered Millennials between the ages of 18-34 years old are demanding convenience, improved access to providers and their health records and personalized care driven by mobile technology. Their everyday lives are in the palm of their hands. They grew up with technology. They buy, sell, bank, talk, text, shop and browse at lightning speed. Everything is on demand. Their expectation for healthcare is that it must have the same level of connectivity. 

In their daily lives text messaging for Millennials has become a staple of communication. Given that they send and receive over 6,000 texts per month, to think that they won't demand the same speed and convenience in healthcare would be a serious market miscalculation.

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The doctor as sole possessor of knowledge and ultimate decision maker is being replaced by demands for a partnership model with the wired patient as an active and engaged participant. Millennials are and will be evaluating providers on the basis of if they are consumer-driven and flexible, with mobile technology availability at the forefront in the selection process. Physicians that are unwilling to adopt and adapt will be at a competitive disadvantage. 

Benefits of Secure Messaging With Patients

Millennials want to be able to access their providers, records, schedule appointments and refill prescriptions through the convenience of text.  Physicians however are often fearful that by giving patients text access that their lives will be disrupted. They're afraid that patients will abuse it, that they'll be on call 24/7, that their home life will be impacted and they won't ever get a break. These are all legitimate concerns but the reality is that Millennials talk in sound bites through text. They don't want a lengthy conversation, they want a quick answer to a specific clinical question...and they want it now.

The typical mode of responding to a patient’s question or concern in healthcare is by phone which can lead to a protracted call. The advantage of secure texting is brevity. You can send a text, provide clinical advice in seconds and avoid a lengthy phone call.  

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In addition to saving physicians time, secure messaging with patients can:

•Increase practice productivity by reducing the volume of incoming and outgoing phone calls

•Increase revenue by reducing cancellations and no-shows

•Allow more time to be spent on direct patient care 

•Improve population health management by engaging patients through text messaging prompts to be an active partner in their health and compliant with their care plan

•Boost patient satisfaction through increased access to physicians

Millennials describe their generation as self-absorbed and demanding. Don't want to deal with them? Maybe you should re-think that. Considering that they now surpass the Baby Boomer population, they will be driving the future of healthcare. Mobile connectivity, access, convenience and healthcare on-demand is the new reality. Secure messaging fits their lifestyle and their requirements. Maybe it needs to fit yours.

Dana Allison

Chief Operating Officer

IM Your Doc