HLTH21: Traditional health care is lacking among young consumers. How can providers win them back?
It’s no secret that younger generations – millennials and Gen Z – don’t seek or receive health care the same way their predecessors did.
First and foremost, the younger population is less likely to have a dedicated primary care physician than previous generations of patients, a trend that can at least be partly explained by broader challenges in healthcare. offer and payment.
“We’re probably missing about 50,000 primary care physicians today, but it’s also a question of cost with the advent of high-deductible health plans – a phenomenon that I think doesn’t work well overall. for the U.S. healthcare system, “said Dr. Patrick Carroll, MD, chief medical officer at Hims & Hers and former primary care practitioner, said this week at the HLTH 2021 conference while speaking at a panel on healthcare offerings for younger patients.
“We now have people who are having difficulty accessing and paying for the care they are trying to receive,” he said.
But while supply may explain much of the generational change, the next wave of unique healthcare consumer demands for convenient, accessible and transparent healthcare services is also pulling them away from ‘traditional’ healthcare providers, said Carroll and his fellow panelists.
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“They don’t want the paternalistic nature that has long existed in healthcare, where the patient is subordinate to the doctor and the doctor wears a white coat and there are white walls and he has his white card in front of him,” Gina said. Bartasi, Founder and CEO of Kindbody for Women’s Health and Fertility. “This whole experience was disrupted and undoubtedly had to be disrupted. “
Bartasi went on to note that millennials and other younger consumers are generally more proactive than reactive, meaning they are more likely to search for a specific service they want (often online) and then turn to the customer. supplier who responds most quickly to this need.
This trend is also starting to show itself on the employer benefits side, which the panelists said is the primary means of caring for many young adults. Bartasi said this led to fertility benefit services like Kindbody becoming “board game” requests for employees interviewing for new roles in certain industries like technology.
“The desire… comes from the people. It comes from the millennium, ”she said. “Instead of being reactive and waiting for the doctor to tell them what to do, they are well educated and take initiative and tell employers what they want.”
Likewise, abandoning traditional primary care providers doesn’t necessarily mean millennials don’t want primary care, said John Moore, MD, medical director of Google’s Fitbit Health Solutions.
He pointed to so-called concierge primary care providers like One Medical and the employer-offered on-site clinics, which he said are “incredibly convenient and have better results” but still not widely available to large. part of the population.
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As more and more young consumers vote with their feet, “a lot of disruptive services will force traditional care channels to move forward and I think we’ll see a balance there,” he said. “But millennials, because they have fewer conditions on average, are more willing to take this risk of fragmentation in favor of innovation and convenience. So it’s more this temporary piece that is more about their willingness to try something new than their actual preference.
There is already some evidence that traditional players are starting to adapt to the times, noted Tammy Sun, CEO and co-founder of Carrot Fertility.
“You see them take note. You go to a local hospital and it looks better, ”Sun said. “Now I’m generalizing – a lot of hospitals are still very outdated and very archaic – but now you’ll see them think twice about making the waiting room more aesthetic by adopting digital solutions. “
Still, most hospitals, healthcare systems, and practices still have a long way to go before they can compete with these accessibility-friendly startups. To close the gap, panelists came up with a quick checklist of changes mainstream players will need to embrace before massively gaining in younger patients.
Go digital phone calls and faxes: “I don’t know a particular millennial who loves the phone,” Bartasi said. “They prefer to schedule their appointments digitally, they want to pay their co-pay digitally and historically in some of the old places you do it through a call center and you have this huge phone label. So when you think about how you deliver a more premium experience at a lower price, you’re replacing all of those transactional things like scheduling and co-payments… instead of those legacy systems, call centers. That’s a lot of overhead, so you can create a strong value proposition and high ROI by using technology to replace a lot of what was historically human.
Treat chronic conditions as needed, not at six-month intervals: “What I would love to see is get rid of the recurring visits for chronic illness that are just based on time,” Moore said. “It’s a broken model. You need to think about providing care as needed rather than on a schedule because a planned approach doesn’t work.
Adopt asynchronous care: “Most of our visits to Hims and Hers are asynchronous, we don’t even watch someone on a video screen. Guess what, our customers love it, overwhelmingly, ”Carroll said. “They like the anonymity, we know the quality is the same for both synchronous and asynchronous visits because we track that, it’s much more efficient because you can actually provide more care to more patients in an asynchronous modality. . “
Help consumers avoid the hassle of surprise billing: Traditional healthcare players should be “really interested in cost, price transparency and its relationship to billing,” Sun said. “For us, we have a Carrot card, it is geolocated in the Carrot network location, it is coded specifically with the design of your employer’s plan, it is integrated into your deductible and you will never have a surprise medical bill. . … Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy, so it’s important to really think about how consumers spend money and are exposed to cost risk.
Encourage free will during the care journey: “It doesn’t have to be fun, it has to be delicious, to take away the sore spots that people have struggled with for a long time,” Moore said. “It has to make people feel that control is not the right word because some aspect of our health is not under our control, it’s our genetics, it’s our environment – but they need to feel their own.” free will, they need to feel that they have the capacity to make an impact on things. It gives real pleasure. “