There is no denying that younger generations have forever influenced the consumer model. As these generations are about to take over as America’s largest age demographic, it’s more important than ever before for healthcare organizations to learn how to engage their future healthcare consumers.
But before we can really engage with this future generation, we first need to understand the impact they’ve had on healthcare so we can effectively connect and speak with them.
The Impact of Younger Generations
Recent nationwide studies, research, and articles, published by c Space, Forbes, Becker’s Hospital Review, ReferralMD, and Hit Consultant along with organizations like the Kaiser Foundation, have shown that the millennial generation is changing healthcare in the following ways:
- They want care fast, with convenient schedules and favor the urgent or retail clinic model over traditional primary care.
- They do their research online first and are twice as likely to act on online healthcare advice, including social media.
- They believe healthcare costs are too high and care is delayed or avoided as a result.
- They listen to other patients. Word of mouth is especially important and trusted, and they are also comfortable sharing their story though patient networks.
- They view health holistically (focused on day-to-day choices that pay off in the long term).
Personalize Their Experience
Realizing this generation has impacted healthcare and that they have specific expectations when it comes to their needs, we can start to deliver the holistic, convenient and personalized experience they expect from their healthcare organization by:
- Delivering fast and convenient care with online scheduling, patient portals, telehealth and tools to help them stay connected and feel supported.
- Making sure your website, business listings, social media pages and online review platforms are in tip-top shape. You may only get one chance to make this critical first impression before they move on.
- Providing them with the peer information they need through online reviews, patient testimonials, provider reviews and access to share their story.
- Supporting their holistic health goals by offering wellness content both on your website and social media pages.
- Building trust online using your website and social media to humanize your brand, using provider videos, spotlight staff, demonstrate community involvement and tell the story of your organization.
They’re More Than Just a Patient
The single-minded message here is that, to become the preferred healthcare brand of millennials, you must start thinking of them less as patients and more as retail consumers. Instead of just wanting and needing healthcare, they want to connect with your healthcare organization at a brand level. This is similar to how individuals only drink one type of coffee, such as Starbucks, or only wear one type of shoes, like Nike or Adidas.
By providing the patient experience they’re looking for, whether in-person or online, you can begin to build trust and lead them to become loyal to your healthcare organization’s brand. Then, once you have their brand loyalty, they’ll ultimately become your patient and brand advocate within their online circle of influence.
The Importance of Online Influencers
As a healthcare organization, it’s imperative to understand that healthcare conversations are going on all the time online. Everyone is talking with one another whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms. While you cannot control these, they’re actually a helpful tool to, first, learn about your healthcare consumer. Then, after you learn what’s important to them, those platforms can be a place to actively engage with them to become a trusted partner in their healthcare journey. Once you have their loyalty, the sky is the limit when it comes to how their online influence can help your organization.
For a deeper dive into how you can leverage social media to turn the future generations into influencers for your healthcare organization’s brand, click below to gain access to our best practices guide for using social media in healthcare marketing:
By Erin Minsart, Vice President of Strategic Services
Legato Healthcare Marketing