The largest American generation in history has begun to age. Now at 21-37 years old, millennials require an ever-increasing number of medical service visits. Instant gratification, less wait time and more technology is just the beginning. Is your medical practice prepared to meet the very different expectations of these 80 million millennials? What are those expectations? And what are some simple first-steps a medical practice can do now to prepare for the growing wave of millennial patients?
Let’s begin with observations of millennials that are so plain that they have become self-evident in our society today. Millennials:
Of course, these generalizations do not fully describe the generation. But this begins to help with learning what patient satisfaction for millennials means to them. These are excellent beginning guideposts to understanding.
A survey of 1009 patients, including 319 millennials (the highest response from any age group) was conducted by an organization of medical products and services manufacturers, The Health Industry Distributors Association. Many differences among the generations were noted. For example, according to modernhealthcare.com, millennials pay much closer attention to office appearance, cost, customer service and the quality of products used during a visit. In other words, millennials were found to be more judgmental from the moment they walk in the door. These impressions are largely controllable and can include updating to a more modern, efficient and electronics-oriented reception area. The key here is to recognize that first impressions are even more lasting with millennials . And their first impressions inform their decision of whether or not they will return.
The study also highlighted that millennials are extremely concerned about wait times. One out of three said they had to wait too long before they received service! This may appear to be a surprisingly large number. But given the self-evident observations about typical millennial views of their world, perhaps it should come as no surprise at all.
A study by Microsoft indicates that the average person's attention span is worse than that of a goldfish. Young consumers believe they know exactly what needs to be done, and they would prefer self-service to waiting. According to this Entrepreneur article, Self-service tools increase customer satisfaction while lowering costs for companies, creating a win-win situation.
In a busy medical practice there may not be bandwidth to completely revamp all the systems and processes to accommodate the new millennial expectations overnight. But focusing on quick wins, like first impressions in the reception area, provides a great first step. Updating the paper patient sign-in sheet is an example of a quick win that can improve millennial impressions quickly and address several of their issues all at once. Simple electronic sign in tools like a medical check in kiosk provide a great example. With this one simple change, millennial criticisms, ranging from their aversion to paper and pen, to the outdated look and first impression of reception, to extended wait times -- are all improved.
Medical office management has become increasingly difficult and managers are forced to deal with the avalanche of complex rules, regulations, hipaa compliance, and administrative processes. Preparing for the growing onslaught of millennial expectations is another challenge that has simple, quick fixes available. There are simple, key fixes that can be taken today to significantly address the issue of millennial expectations and meet the evolving needs of HIPAA Compliance. Start in the lobby, the first place they visit, the first impression they have of your office.