You may have seen news headlines declaring that millennials killed plastic drinking straws. Or that they've caused the demise of homeownership. While these stories may be a bit extreme, there’s no doubt millennials aren't afraid to shake things up. And now, they have some pretty strong opinions about what they want from their healthcare providers, too.
The majority of millennials—typically defined as those born between 1982 and 2000—grew up as digital natives. Today, being connected is the norm. Having access to things on-demand is expected. And control over their relationships with brands and businesses is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.
With these expectations bleeding over into healthcare, millennials are turning the traditional model on its head. Millennials want tech-savvy healthcare providers who know how to integrate the latest technology to deliver the best possible experience. In other words, the world of healthcare needs to go digital, and the cloud is the most prominent enabling factor in this transformation. That’s why, today, 83% of healthcare providers have already moved their operations to the cloud to keep up.
As millennials make health care decisions for themselves and their families, their choices are poised to shake up the industry. Here are three ways they're doing just that.
Shifting the World of Wearables For Health Monitoring
In a study conducted by Barkley, millennials are 2.5x more likely than older generations to be early adopters of new technology. Because of their eagerness to adopt new technology, millennials are driving the popularity of wearable devices (think Fitbit or the Apple Watch). So much so, in fact, that the number of wearable devices worldwide is expected to reach an estimated 830 million by the end of 2020.
So what do these wearable devices have to do with healthcare? Thanks to advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT), many of these wearable devices have moved to real-time patient monitoring. For example, ingestible, pill-sized sensors made by companies like Proteus Digital Health monitor medications in the body, sending confirmation reports to physicians that prescriptions are taken correctly. Moodables are headpieces that monitor brain waves to combat depression. And contact lenses can now help monitor blood sugar for diabetes patients. These are just a few examples of how IoT devices capture vital data from the body throughout the day and transmit wirelessly to a doctor’s computer for real-time monitoring and diagnosis.
Today, 63% of millennials state they would be interested in proactively sharing health data pulled from wearable devices with their doctor. For healthcare providers, this means adopting a cloud-based platform that enables the wireless transfer, storage, and monitoring of this vital clinical data.
Making App-Based, Mobile Healthcare The Norm
Convenience, availability, and accessibility are key to capturing millennial patients. The evidence is in their adoption of connected devices: Today, the average millennial owns seven connected devices, including smartphones, tablets and other on-the-go devices to keep the world at their fingertips. And with such vast mobile access, millennials are pushing for cloud-based, mobile healthcare at a rapid pace, too. Along with it, they want easy online appointment scheduling, on-demand access to medical records and test results, and a simplified communication path to their provider. In fact, 73% of millennials are interested in having their doctors use mobile devices during appointments to share information, and 71% would like a doctor to give them a mobile app to actively manage their well-being for preventive care, review health records and schedule appointments.
This expectation has already become a reality: Nearly half of all smartphone owners use their devices to get health information, and one-fifth already have health apps on their devices.
Accepting A Different Kind Of Relationship With Doctors
In an EBRI survey, only 67% of millennials reported having a primary care provider, compared to 78% of Gen Xers and 85% of boomers.
What’s causing the drop in having a go-to healthcare provider? Millennials, more than any other generation, are always switching cities, jobs, and budgets. That makes going to the same doctor year after year rare and unsustainable. And when they do go to a new doctor, they’re frustrated with filling out repetitive forms just to catch their new provider up on past health data.
But digital, cloud-based healthcare offers a potential solution. Many millennials believe that the future of healthcare is one where all health information is digitally-stored and safely accessible. Cloud-based electronic medical records make it easier for doctors to collaboratively view or share a patient’s medical records. So when a patient switches to a new provider, they can finally ditch the tedious paperwork and recounting of medical history. Instead, all of their past information can be accessed instantly by their new doctor, so they can see the results of past tests and visits.