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Stop Treating Millennial Healthcare Consumers Like A Hive Mind

female-nurse-with-patientWithout a doubt, Millennials represent a powerful segment of healthcare consumers. In fact, a recent survey by PNC Healthcare suggests that Millennials are on the verge of overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest consumer buying group. PNC Senior Vice President Jean Hippert said at the survey’s release that “the rules of evolution dictate that those insurers and healthcare providers that survive or thrive will be those that adapt sooner than later to the preferences of this fast-paced, technology-driven generation.”

How are Millennials influencing healthcare consumerism? 

Five Ways Millennials are Influencing Healthcare

According to findings of the PNC survey, Millennials are the driving force behind five healthcare trends.

1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Are you familiar with Yelp? Millennials are. Their love of online reviews is evident by the growing number of apps designed to make it easy to share opinions — and not just about restaurant experiences. Nearly 50 percent of Millennials look to healthcare providers’ online reviews as part of their shopping process.

2. Insurance Shopping

Millennials, along with Gen-Xers, are twice as likely as older Americans to go online to review insurance information. The 2015 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic found similar behavior among the generations; in addition, Millennials were much more likely to visit, and purchase from, Health Insurance Exchanges. Organizations that facilitate this research are likely to gain some trust.  

3. New Delivery Options

Almost 60 percent of Millennials elect to visit retail clinics or urgent care clinics rather than a traditional practice with a primary care physician. Convenience is paramount. Millennials want care that fits into their schedules, rather than adjusting their schedules around a doctor’s appointment. Note, the 2015 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic found that 43 percent of Millennials or their immediate family members visited a retail clinic in the past 12 months, but this is still a significant number.

4. Treatment Avoidance

Healthcare costs were cited as problems with healthcare by 80 percent of survey respondents across all age groups. While that doesn’t prevent the majority of older adults from seeking treatment, it’s a serious barrier for Millennials, more than half of whom have delayed treatment due to financial concerns.

5. Price Transparency

One reason Millennials avoid treatment is concern about costs, leading to a greater demand for upfront estimates. Forty-one percent of Millennials want to know the price of treatment before they will seek it.

Psychographic Segmentation Offers a More Accurate Picture

Because they are so influential, it can be tempting to treat Millennials like a hive mind — the Borg of healthcare consumerism. But even with the significant numbers driving the trends above, 30, 40 or even 50 percent of Millennials responded differently. Clearly, individuals within this cohort do not all think alike — and even those who do may have very different attitudes or motivations that influence their choices. Understanding how they differ is a necessity if you want to connect with Millennials.

The Communispace Healthcare without Borders study, which was mentioned in a previous blog, used the PatientBond Consumer Classifier questionnaire to break down the millennial audience into five different psychographic segments to better understand how diverse this group is. 

  1. 20 percent are Balance Seekers, likely to conduct research to understand why they need to change a behavior rather than take a physician’s word for it. They also take a holistic approach to health and wellness. This means hospitals need to engage with them by making information available across many channels.
  2. 33 percent are Willful Endurers, a significantly higher percentage than among other groups. They are disengaged and live for the here and now. Healthcare providers need to connect with them by focusing on immediate, rather than future, benefits. 
  3. 18 percent are Priority Jugglers who are motivated more by their personal responsibilities — career or family. Healthcare providers can engage them by promoting health that fits into their busy lifestyles or has a positive benefit for their loved ones.
  4. 18 percent are Self Achievers, open to traditional channels. While healthcare providers may have a leg up with this group, providing tools for setting and achieving health and wellness goals can drive higher levels of engagement.
  5. 11 percent are Direction Takers. They seek expert advice and are the most likely to engage with traditional providers. Unfortunately, they’re the smallest psychographic segment among Millennials.

As healthcare consumerism continues to strengthen, hospitals and other healthcare providers seek new ways to ‘see’ potential patients, often categorizing them by the lowest common denominator. By doing so, however, you run the risk of actually missing key distinctions that could improve patient activation. Psychographic segmentation can help you see beyond the collective and achieve higher levels of engagement.  

Take the PatientBond Consumer Classifier quiz yourself to discover the healthcare psychographic segment to which you belong or contact PatientBond to learn more.

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change

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