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Connect Healthcare 2017—Millennials vs Baby Boomers: Two Approaches to Healthcare

The wants and needs of the two biggest demographic groups in the United States—the Baby Boomers and the Millennials—were hotly debated during Connect Healthcare 2017. A panel of five healthcare experts—two Millennials and three Baby Boomers—shared their industry and generational insights. You can read a re-cap of all the panels here.

Moderated by Rendina’s Neil Carolan, panelists touched on what makes Millennials and Baby Boomers so different.

Kidder Mathews’ Fletcher Perry explained that Millennials want instant gratification, regardless of the situation, and convenience. “They don’t want to get off the couch, whether it’s talking to the doctor or having food delivered to them,” he said.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Ryan O’Connor noted that he, like millions of other Millennials, prefers to go to urgent care when he’s sick. “And I check in on the app before I get there, so I don’t have to wait,” he said.

While some might think O’Connor’s dislike of waiting is a Millennial characteristic, Intermountain Health’s Tom Uriona thinks it’s true of all people, regardless of demographic. He expressed his belief that Baby Boomers and Millennials are far more alike than anyone thinks, pointing to the misperception that Millennials eat out and socialize more than Baby Boomers, and that tech savvy is limited to younger generations.

“Across the population, when it comes to healthcare delivery, it’s all about access,” Uriona said. “And both age groups are concerned about money and the cost of healthcare.”

Dignity Health’s Robin Shepherd also said access is the key. However, she also indicated that the way providers interface with patients once they’ve connected with them is important.

Regardless of age, patients today have a “McDonald’s” view of healthcare—what they want, when they want it, and where they want it,” Shepherd said. “The attempt is to make it as individualized as possible,” she added.

Millennials, in particular, want healthcare to be fast and efficient, and Perry pointed out that Millennials prize information, perhaps more so than Baby Boomers. “Access to information is vitally important,” he said.

O’Connor contended that both Baby Boomers and Millennials have impacted the way healthcare facilities are designed and developed. He pointed to RV stalls in parking lots as an example of Baby Boomers influencing design, and farm-to-table cafeterias as an example of Millennials impacting amenities.

Both age groups are impacting the hub-and-spoke model of healthcare. O’Connor said the spokes are getting bigger and the hubs are getting smaller—a result of the increased emphasis on convenience and accessibility.

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