Skip to main content

How Millennials Shop for Health Care

By September 2, 2015Commentary

A survey from Nuance Communications examines the health purchasing tendencies of millennials, which it says at 83 million are the largest cohort of the American population.  The definition of millennials is unclear but appears to be people aged 18-34, but the surveys is not particularly well done or well-organized.  3000 people of all ages were questioned for the survey.   (Nuance Survey)   According to the respondents, 70% of young millennials, aged 18-24, select a primary care doctor based on recommendations from friends and family, whereas only 41% of people over 65 do so.  When they have a negative experience, these younger patients are more likely to tell their friends, at 60%, than the doctor, only 15%, and their friends are more likely to trust what they hear.  Patients aged 55 or older are more likely to tell their physicians directly about dissatisfaction, at 45%, than a friend at only 35%.   54% of these young millennials say the internet is a primary source of information on doctors, compared to 39% for all patients and internet usage for doctor reviews or ratings drops for each successively older age bracket.

The most interesting factoid in the survey may be that across ages, the following factors are identified as making for better care are adequate time for discussion, cited by 74%, good verbal communication of recommendations, cited by 66%, privacy during the visit, 30% and eye contact, 30%.  This fits with surveys showing that one of the biggest concerns about health information technology is patients not liking that doctors pay more attention to their computer than to them.  Shouldn’t surprise us that we all want to be treated with dignity and respect as individuals.  And 40% of respondents said they felt rushed during their visit.  Not likely to lead to those higher patient satisfaction scores providers are desperate for under value-based purchasing.  Although this isn’t a great survey, it does cover a very important topic–understanding what attracts patients to particular providers and what makes them feel good about health care interactions.

Leave a comment