While traditional communication channels remain popular among older patients, the next generation of younger patients known as millennials are interested in utilizing more digital health tools to enhance their patient experience, according to a recent Salesforce report. The “State of the Connected Patient” report, which surveyed more than 1,700 Americans who have health insurance and a primary care doctor to examines how patients are currently connecting with their providers, as well as their technology requests for the future.
The report found Americans on average see their doctor three times a year, have 2.5 doctors overseeing some aspect of their health care and are confident that their doctors are sharing their health records across the caregiver system (76% agree). However, when the scope of the survey was narrowed down to the millennials (defined as currently aged 18-34), whose viewpoints are likely to shape future of digital health and patient engagement.
The report found many millennials have a very limited or even non-existent relationship with their primary care doctor, as 40 percent reported saying their primary care doctor would not recognize them walking down the street. More importantly, millennials would rather to engage with their providers through digital health technology, and this will in turn force healthcare providers to embrace more social, mobile and cloud solutions in their patient engagement repertoire.
Here are eight key findings the survey found that highlight how millennials are interested in using digital health to enhance their patient experience:
1. 60 percent of millennials are interested in using telehealth options (e.g., video chat with a doctor) so they don’t have to come into the office for an appointment.
2. 71 percent of millennials would be interested in a doctor/provider giving them a mobile app on their smartphone/tablet to actively manage their well-being for preventative care, review health records, schedule appointments.
3. 63 percent of millennials would be interested in proactively providing their health data from WiFi/wearable devices to their doctor/provider so they can monitor their well-being.
4. 76 percent of millennials value online reviews from other patients when selecting a doctor
5. 74 percent of millennials value the ability to book online appointments/ pay bills when selecting a doctor
6. 73 percent of millennials are interested in their doctors using mobile devices during appointments to share information.
7. 61 percent of millennials would be interested in 3D printing for devices necessary health (prosthetics, hearing aids etc.)
8. 57 percent of millennials would be interested in cutting-edge devices like pills that can monitor their internal vitals when swallowed.
So, while this is an exciting time for providers, as they have the opportunity to match an eager populace with new digital health tools, it should also serve as a wake-up call that they need to strengthen relationships with their millennial patients or risk losing them to more modern, competitive health systems.