For decades marketers have tailored their messages and delivery tactics based on the target audience to help increase sales of products and services. Today, physicians and healthcare executives must follow their lead when engaging patients from different generations.
While Baby Boomers traditionally did not grow up with the prevalence of technology, they cannot be considered technology ignorant. In fact, most Baby Boomers have embraced technology and are active internet and social media users. The Pew Research Center found 83 percent of younger boomers (ages 51-59) and 76 percent of older boomers (60-69) use the internet.
Despite heavy internet use, Baby Boomers still are dependent on asking providers questions, but will then research the physician’s recommendations and additional health information online following their visit. Physicians can best engage with Baby Boomers by providing online tools at their disposal and access to a patient portal, ultimately serving as a resource of information even when they are not in the physical office.
In fact, because they are so curious in nature and focused on educating themselves, Generation Xers use patient portals to review labs (77 percent), communicate with their healthcare provider directly and schedule appointments (41 percent), as well as to order refills (37 percent). Similar to Baby Boomers, healthcare providers should focus on becoming an online resource for Generation X patients by providing medical records in a secure portal and offer access to additional information for their continued education.
Because this generation is considered “digital natives,” they frequently use telehealth and mHealth applications. In fact, a Salesforce report determined that 60 percent of Millennials support the use of telehealth and 71 percent would like their physicians to adopt a mobile health application. This generation wants a personalized experience and the ability to connect with physicians via technology. To best reach Millennials, physicians should attempt to limit in-person communication as much as possible by embracing mHealth and telehealth tools, such as apps and video consults. Additionally, providers must also keep in mind how their brand is perceived online since Generation Xers and Millennials factor in reviews when determining provider loyalty.