Millennials are the next growing population that will capture the attention of doctors. In many cases, doctors today focus on the elderly and those who suffer from chronic diseases because that’s where the main amount of business lies.
When we begin to focus on the younger generation—which has always been connected and is always plugged in—the experience will begin to shift. These younger patients will ask, “why do I have to go see a doctor for a rash or to refill a prescription?” They will want to use a mobile device to take a picture of their rash and send it to a doctor. They will want to know why a pattern matching algorithm cannot look at the rash and let them know if it’s serious enough to go see a doctor. For them, the mobile device is the mechanism for receiving healthcare.
The bottom line is that the millennial generation wants immediacy, which to them means minutes or seconds, not days or weeks. The idea of waiting a few days for an appointment or leaving one location to go to another for treatment is foreign to them. Communication for them needs to be instant. Just ask their families: often times the best way to reach these younger members of our population is to text them—even when everyone is in the same house.
Of course, this type of treatment scenario will not be for everyone. It took a generation or two for online banking to take root. The Millennials now do banking on their phones. They do not need to go to the bank to deposit a check. Banking did not go away; people now have choices for interacting with these institutions. The same will be true with healthcare, and clinicians and IT managers need to be prepared for the onslaught of this mobile revolution.
Clinicians and bricks-and-mortar structures will not go away, but increasingly face-to-face interactions will be in the cyberspace arena. The next step is to make sure these types of treatment options are reimbursable for physicians.
What questions do you have about the next generation of patients and mobile technology? What are you seeing in your organization today?