Last year, millennials (adults aged 18 to 34 in 2016) officially became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Study after study confirms that the tech savvy millennial generation values high-quality telehealth options. According to one estimate, a full 74% of millennials prefer to see a doctor virtually via telehealth.
For employers, millennials desire for telehealth creates a rare opportunity. By providing the digitally native, millennial generation with a telehealth solution, employers can implement turn-key telehealth programs that contribute to the productivity, health, loyalty and happiness of their millennial employees, and reduce skyrocketing healthcare costs.
Lower Engagement in the Traditional U.S. Healthcare System
In evaluating and choosing healthcare options, the millennial generation brings a distinct set of attitudes and behaviors. In general, millennials are far less engaged with the traditional practices of the U.S. healthcare system than earlier generations. It’s easy to say this reflects their relative youth and better health. However, a deeper examination suggests that these behaviors reflect values that are fundamentally different than the Generation X and Baby Boomers which preceded them.
Understanding Millennials, Healthcare & Technology
The relationship between millennials and our healthcare system, is best captured by four characteristics. All indicate why telehealth is particularly attractive to this generation:
Less Value in Primary Care Physicians: As compared to earlier generations, millennials place far less trust in a single Primary Care Physician (PCP) to manage their health (the doctor as parent model). An estimated 40% of millennials have no relationship with their Primary Care Provider (PCP), another 28% have no PCP, and 40% believe their PCP would not recognize them if they crossed paths on the street.
Millennials prefer the speed and convenience of urgent care centers, retail clinics, and virtual care for non-acute healthcare, as compared to PCP visits.
To sum up, millennials have come of age placing their trust in the care provided by healthcare networks or facilities, as opposed to individuals. As a result, for non-urgent issues, a consultation with a doctor from a high-quality provider network, such as First Stop Health, aligns with their expectations and preferences in accessing healthcare.
Desire for Convenience: The “Amazon Prime, instant gratification generation has little patience for the long waits associated with the visit to a doctor’s office. In part, millennials live stressed out, hectic lives. In part, they view two-hour waits as evidence of an antiquated, broken system; which they inherently reject.
Telehealth services, such as First Stop Health, are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And, with an average doctor call-back time, of about five minutes, First Stop Health fits the on-demand generation’s desire for convenient access to healthcare services.
Costs Matter: As a group, millennials are deeply concerned about costs. This is the generation that experienced the Great Recession as a central event in their young lives. As a result, millennials look for healthcare savings. Observers repeatedly find that millennials tend to choose lower cost, high deductible health plans, and pocket the premium savings.
When employer’s purchase First Stop Health for their families, our basic service offers unlimited virtual consultations, at no extra cost, for employees and their families. For cost conscious millennials, these no-fee telehealth consultations mean they avoid the high costs of visits to physical facilities which may involve high deductibles, copays, and other cost-sharing arrangements.
Technology Natives: The group that was raised with Facebook, Google, and smartphones are far more comfortable with technology as a means of solving their problems. According to one estimate, millennials are five times more likely to embrace new technologies than any other generation.
Indeed, one of the defining characteristics of their experiences has been the rapid adoption of new, technology enabled services. When a technology enabled capability, such as telehealth, solves a problem in their lives, Millennials actively embrace this technology enabled solution. For millennials, First Stop Health addresses issues related to cost, convenience and identifying a trusted source of quality care.
At First Stop Health, we share many of the attitudes of millennials. We believe that healthcare, for non-urgent conditions, should not be an inconvenient, high cost event. Our service was designed for patients of all ages, but clearly aligns with the behaviors of the rising millennial generation.
Our service is not designed to replace PCP’s or preventive medicine. At the same time, our goal is to encourage our members to stay healthy, happy, and productive by using our service instead of visiting an urgent care, retail clinic, primary care doctor or ER. Indeed, our industry-leading, average usage of 50% across all our employee groups for the first half of 2017 reflects our success in demonstrating the value of our service to millennials and covered employees of all ages.
Employers also benefit financially by offering our service. We contractually guarantee that our service will generate a positive ROI for employers.
For every employer group, we develop innovative, turn-key engagement strategies that ensure covered employees are aware of our convenient, easy access, high-value service. For millennials, the generation that is now the largest segment of the nation’s workforce, our message resonates with extra strength.