“The most influential generation”—according to Yahoo’s Gen X study released in February—is a generation worthy of a healthcare marketing strategist’s particular attention. We could certainly engage in an interesting dialogue regarding whether or not Gen X is the most influential, but nonetheless in your realm they are important consumers of healthcare.

The oldest Gen Xers turn 51 this year. Entering middle age, they are a generation poised to create a high demand for health services.

Smart healthcare marketers would do well to listen to what this generation has to say about their providers and what they want their providers to know.

Hailey Sault’s recent study on the drivers of consumer choice in health care in the U.S. provides a quantitative analysis and insight into what Gen Xers (and Boomers and Millennials too) really think and feel about their health and their health choices.

Here’s what the most influential generation right now let us know.

We asked, “What is the most important thing in determining whether you’re satisfied or unsatisfied with a local healthcare provider?” These three Gen Xer themes emerged:

  1. Many Gen Xers reported that the most important thing in their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a healthcare provider is when she or he communicates caring and compassion through their demeanor, actions and words.
  • A doctor’s mannerisms, someone who will actually listen and then will explain in easy to understand terms. Someone who is prompt, follows through and keeps us updated.
  • How a person is treated emotionally
  • The feeling that my well-being is actually the primary concern
  • They are polite, listen to you and your problems whether it be physical, mental, without judging you for whatever reason they might think but listen to you and figure out a solution or treatment for you if need be—treatment, medicine or counseling
  1. Many Gen Xers emphasized convenience, speed and/or resolution as the most important.
  • Ability to solve my health issue quickly
  • Getting the problem solved
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Easy to go to or easy to set an appointment
  • Closer to home
  1. Physician and hospital reputation for expertise and quality were also cited as most important to Gen Xers.
  • Best doctors
  • Trustworthiness
  • Quality of care whether I can afford it or not
  • Competency

When asked, “What has been your most profoundly positive healthcare experience?” Gen Xer responses included:

  • Doctors who took personal interest in my condition/care
  • When the ER doctor was able to discover the cause of an illness and begin treatment for it
  • A doctor with a polite and positive helpful attitude, considerate of my feelings and understanding to my needs as a person and a patient no matter what the situation and especially being a mental health patient
  • I think profoundly positive is a little strong but the most positive experience I have had was about a month ago at the ER. The doctor was calm and compassionate and it put me at ease. He was skilled and quick. I understood what was going on before it happened and I was treated with respect. This description doesn’t do the experience justice but it was the most at ease I think I have ever been at any doctor’s office or hospital.

When we asked, “If your healthcare provider really knew you, they would know that…” Gen X said:

  • I don’t trust the medical profession
  • I’m an informed patient
  • I’m not a box to be checked, I’m a human being
  • I don’t do everything I should for my health and need inspiration
  • Living a healthy lifestyle is very important to me
  • I travel for business and I’m very busy, so I need to be seen right away when I call for an appointment
  • I secretly worry more about my future health than I indicate 

Now that you know what Gen X thinks of you, and wants you to know about them, how can you use what you know to better understand how to broach marketing healthcare to this skeptical generation? Watch for part two of Gen X Healthcare Consumer Extraordinaire next week and we will tell you.


  • Hailey Sault and Frank N. Magid Associates 2015 online quantitative survey with 1,233 U.S. consumers ages 25–64
  • Source: Simmons Summer 2015 NHCS Adult Survey / Shullman Pulse study 2014 / Audience Theory / Yahoo Qualitative November 2015 4