The millennial generation is 83.1 million strong according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report. They are 24 to 39 years old, starting families, choosing primary care physicians and pediatricians. They are health conscious, digitally savvy, elusive—and your core health care marketing target. They are also more likely than any other patient you have to walk out if they aren’t getting what they want from you.

Our latest Hailey Sault research, Why Patients Change: 2017 reveals that 36 percent of millennials often look for health care options other than what their primary care doctor recommends and 35 percent have gone outside their preferred local health system for special treatments.

Because millennials are playing a greater role than any generation before them in determining how, when and where they receive care, the need to understand them cannot be overstated.

The millennial mindset: 5 key research findings

Together with Frank N. Magid Associates, Hailey Sault surveyed 1,100 consumers across the United States who self-identified as health care decision makers in their household. Our goal was to gain a deeper understanding of each generation and what causes them to change providers—32% percent of our respondents were millennials and here’s what they told us about themselves:

#1. Millennials prioritize convenience.

They are more likely to value short wait times and a simple/fast check-in process.

  • 32% of the millennials we surveyed would use whichever health system provided the timeliest access to its services compared to 19% of Gen Xers and 19% of Baby Boomers.
  • Millennials are more likely to believe they can seek care outside their insurance network; 39% feel they can go to any health system, hospital or physicians’ clinic of their choosing.

#2. Millennials value cost transparency.

Perhaps because many of them still carry unprecedented student debt and are experiencing some of the highest deductible health care plans, they are more likely than any other generation to seek cost-effective care and treatments.

  • 62% of millennials believe health care is more expensive than it was last year.
  • 70% would switch to a provider with more reasonable costs.
  • 65% would switch if the cost of health care was more aligned with their expectations.

#3. Millennials trust their doctor, but don’t believe their doctor genuinely cares about them.

Millennials have a high degree of trust when it comes to attitudes about their health care provider.

  • Our research found that 63% trust their doctor.
  • 60% said that their doctor often explains things in a way they can understand.

However, only 49% thought that their doctor genuinely cared about them. When asked what qualities they believe indicated caring—

  • 50% wanted their doctor to listen to their needs and input when considering their health care options.
  • 45% wanted their doctor to clearly answer and take the necessary time to answer their questions—64% said they would switch if they felt a doctor would spend more time with them.
  • 43% wanted their doctor to explain their medical condition and be empathetic at the same time.

#4. Millennials define health differently.

Millennials don’t define health as simply the absence of disease. They view health more holistically with mental health, fitness, longevity and healthy lifestyles being essential.

  • 35% of millennials want their local health care provider to help them be healthier every day.
  • When asked if their local health care provider currently provided information and resources about every day health, 51% said, yes.
  • Millennials were however much more likely than any generation to trust sources like WebMD, friends and family, health magazines, their Fitbit and even Nike when it came to providing a daily source for health and fitness information.

#5. Millennials are leading the charge in an increasingly connected world.

Although they appear to grab onto and abandon media at the speed of light, our research revealed the following insights:

  • Millennials are multi-channeled—even though they seem to be a digital-first generation, they are actually open to several traditional channels.
  • They consume “media experiences,” and strategies for connecting with them must reach across and incorporate multiple channels.
  • They view their phone as an extension of themselves, they prefer a laptop to a desktop, and a lot of what they consume is streamed.

We asked millennials who had actually switched providers to tell us why. This is exactly what they told us:   

  • “Quality of service.”
  • “Better rates when it came to co-pays.”
  • “Convenience.”
  • “Hassle-free appointments.”
  • “I didn’t like the doctor, I thought there were better ones out there.”
  • “Timeliness of service, shorter wait times.”
  • “It met my requirements for lower cost, better service and faster response.”

The millennial generation is more demanding than any other generation. They are more cost conscious and service oriented, they are looking for a doctor to connect with who genuinely cares about them, they want help from you to stay healthy and they are more likely than any other generation to go elsewhere if they aren’t getting what they need from you. Let us help you begin to connect with them, gain their trust and start establishing their long-term loyalty.