Utilizing Digital Tools to Optimize Healthcare for Different Generations
Recent Report Highlights How Different Generations Use Digital Tools to Manage Their Healthcare Needs
Healthcare is an essential need for people of all ages, but how different generations access and use healthcare products and services vary widely. Understanding and catering to these generation patterns and preferences is critical for healthcare organizations to optimize healthy people and providers.
A recent report titled “The ConnectedEconomy™: Omnichannel Healthcare Takes Center Stage,” sponsored by CareCredit and conducted by PYMNTS, analyzed demographic differences in digital healthcare access and usage. The report found that digital engagement in healthcare crosses age boundaries, but there are significant variations in the extent of use and the digital tools preferred by different age groups.
The study was based on a survey of 2,735 consumers, and it found that “Patients in different age groups tend to gravitate toward very different digital activities, choosing whichever best suits their personal health needs.”
Baby boomers and seniors, for instance, are more likely to use a website or app provided by their physicians to access healthcare information, check appointments and lab results or make payments, with 21% of them using this type of patient portal. In contrast, 39% of Generation X consumers, 63% of millennials, and 56% of bridge millennials use a mix of in-person and digital healthcare options, indicating that omnichannel healthcare is now a near-universal phenomenon in the United States.
The data shows that Gen Z engages in every type of digital healthcare activity more than other generations, with the most common activities including using patient portals (62%) and keeping telemedicine appointments (55%). Baby boomers and seniors, on the other hand, are the most likely to engage in in-person healthcare activities exclusively, such as going to a doctor’s office in person. They are also the most likely to say that they do not engage in any type of healthcare-related activity at all.
The study notes that 46% of all consumers in the U.S. now engage with their healthcare providers using a mix of patient portals, telehealth appointments, apps, and in-person visits, which amounts to a projected 119 million patients. The number of these so-called “omnichannel patients” is growing monthly, highlighting the need for healthcare organizations to provide a seamless and integrated experience across all channels.
Healthcare providers must ensure that their offerings cater to the preferences of each generation to improve overall health outcomes. The report recommends that providers invest in digital tools that offer intuitive and personalized experiences for each generation, such as online scheduling, telemedicine services, and patient portals. Offering one-click lab orders, automated test results, integration with leading EHRs, and timely billing and revenue cycles could also contribute to a more efficient and improved provider experience.
Omnichannel healthcare is becoming a norm in the United States, and catering to the preferences of each generation is critical for healthcare organizations to optimize healthy people and providers. Providers that invest in digital tools that offer intuitive and personalized experiences for each generation could improve overall health outcomes. The healthcare industry must continue to evolve to keep pace with changing generational patterns and preferences to provide a seamless and integrated experience across all channels.
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