One-size-fits-all healthcare experiences are becoming a thing of the past. The rise of healthcare consumerism has completely transformed the way providers care for patients, revealing the importance of tailoring engagement to each individual.
As providers look to improve healthcare quality, access, and outcomes, taking generational factors into consideration is essential for success. Let’s discuss how primary care facilities can help each generation foster engagement:
How Generational Factors Impact Patient Engagement
Every generation has different needs, preferences, and expectations for their healthcare experience. Learning about various generational differences and how to accommodate them is paramount for healthcare organizations today.
Breakdown of the Different Generations
- The Silent Generation: Born 1928–1945
- Baby Boomer Generation: Born 1946–1966
- Generation X: Born 1965–1980
- Millennial Generation: Born 1981–1996
- Generation Z: Born 1997–2010
Silent Generation and Baby Boomers
People who fall within the silent and baby boomer generations tend to be the most loyal to their healthcare providers. For example, nearly all older generations have a dedicated primary care provider, whereas that number significantly decreases for younger generations. In addition, the silent and baby boomer generations generally prefer more traditional care delivery, such as in-person appointments, over telehealth. They also respond best to a physician’s verbal instructions, followed by written, then digital communications.
Generation X (or Gen X) patients are a happy medium between baby boomers and millennials. They are typically more technologically savvy than their predecessors but less so than younger generations. The digital divide—or varying tech literacy across Generation X—means patient preferences may vary widely by individual, likely with a mix of virtual and in-person care.
One out of every three adults in America is a millennial, meaning they make up a large portion of both current and future healthcare consumers. Less loyal than previous generations, millennials are more likely to research and assess all the options available to them. They’re also very tech savvy and want access to self-service tools that offer convenience, transparency, and autonomy for their healthcare experience.
Generation Z is similar to millennials, but they’re even more technically inclined—not to mention even less likely to remain loyal to one practice and provider. Not surprisingly, 16 percent of Gen Zers use telehealth services, leading all age groups and up from just 6 percent of millennials. Ensuring satisfaction and loyalty among Gen Z patients requires a highly personalized approach and exceptional digital experience.
Engaging and Supporting Each Generation in Healthcare
Using patient engagement technology can greatly assist with engaging and supporting each generation. An exceptional solution will allow you to:
Learn each patient’s preferences.
Don’t assume you know what patients are looking for in a healthcare experience—even if they fall within a certain age or demographic. Instead, consider using automated survey tools to assess things such as patient satisfaction and reported outcomes. The right solution will allow you to customize each survey with relevant questions, target specific patient populations, and automate the sending of surveys for ease and efficiency.
Building strong patient-provider relationships is also an effective way to get to know individual patients and learn what each person wants and needs from their providers. This is especially true when evaluating older generations, who may be more comfortable discussing their preferences in a one-on-one, in-person setting.
Take an omnichannel approach.
Taking an omnichannel approach with multiple engagement channels is another great way to deliver generational healthcare. Make it a point to customize engagement based on the preferred communication channels for each generation and individual.
By tailoring communication channels to accommodate generational differences, providers can increase patient engagement and improve satisfaction. For example, while some patients—particularly younger generations—prefer digital channels such as text messages and emails, older generations favor phone calls and in-person appointments.
Personalize as much as possible.
Healthcare today is all about delivering patient-centric care, but doing so effectively requires a more personal approach. Providers should customize care plans based on each individual’s physical health, functional status, family history, socioeconomic conditions, and personal preferences.
For instance, some patients may require direct, in-depth education to improve health literacy and adherence. Other patients are more likely to self-manage and participate in their own care, and they may be satisfied with occasional check-ins from their provider via digital communications and surveys.
By custom-tailoring your approach to align with each generation, you can help each manage and access healthcare in a new, more engaging way—regardless of age. Download our free guide, The Rise of Healthcare Consumerism and What It Means for Your Practice, to learn more about engaging healthcare consumers today.