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How Millennials and Generation Z Are Driving the Digital Healthcare Revolution
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How Millennials and Generation Z Are Driving the Digital Healthcare Revolution

Jay T. Ripton is a freelance healthcare, technology, and business writer out of Scottsdale. He loves to write to inform, educate, and provoke minds. Follow him on twitter @JTRipton.
This article was cowritten by Peter Scott, a journalist and editor who has been covering healthcare, business, and lifestyle trends for more than 20 years. You can contact him at

Millennials and Generation Z consumers are driving significant change in the US healthcare system.

Accenture’s 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey of more than 2000 people discovered a surprising split between older and younger consumers’ views on healthcare services. Millennials were found to be 2 or 3 times more likely to feel dissatisfied with the following factors than baby boomers:
  • Appointment times (16% of millennials feel dissatisfied compared with 6% of baby boomers)
  • The channel through which care is available (13% vs 4%)
  • The effectiveness of the care available (12% vs 4%)  
  • Whether they received the medication they expected to be prescribed (10% vs 5%)
Respondents in the Gen Z category showed even higher rates of dissatisfaction with 32% saying they felt unhappy with the effectiveness of their care and 24% taking issue with medication choices, channel/location, and cost.

Millennials and Gen Zers have come of age in a world in which digital technology is ingrained in most aspects of life, from forming social circles to consuming media. But what changes are their technological fluency and drive for more accessible service creating in healthcare?

1. Online/Mobile Access to Test Results

The Accenture survey shows a rising preference for healthcare providers to deliver online and mobile-friendly services. Overall, 44% of millennials would choose a medical provider because they offered digital solutions via mobile compared with just 29% of baby boomers.

This comes as no surprise considering 65% of millennials and Gen Zers interact more with each other digitally than face to face. More than 70% keep their smartphone within arm’s reach while sleeping and 64.5% take their phone to the bathroom, the survey found.

The traditional process of delivering test results involves face-to-face or phone communication during specific hours. Online/mobile access offers consumers important information regarding their own health 24/7. 

This brings more balance to the relationship between healthcare provider and patient/customer, according to the head of Accenture’s global Health practice, Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD:

“As more patients take control of their own healthcare, provider organizations must offer meaningful choices that fulfil the needs of all generational groups,” Safavi said. “Providers and payers who stay one step ahead of the shifts and deliver what patients are looking for will be the ones to earn loyalty, navigate disruption and be strongly positioned as the future unfolds.”

Online access to test results allows providers to cater to younger generations who are used to managing their finances, calendars, social events, and careers online. There’s no need to wait for hours, or even days, for test results, based on when a doctor or nurse can fit a chat into their schedule. The information is uploaded and accessible at a convenient time for the person whom it affects.

2. Electronic Prescriptions

The Accenture survey shows millennials and Gen Zers cite electronic prescriptions as a desirable healthcare service. Roughly 42% of millennials feel e-prescription refills are important, compared with just 30% of baby boomers.

This is a growing trend both inside and outside the United States, which is set to dominate the e-prescription market as demand increases. In the United Kingdom, paper prescriptions are due to be eschewed entirely. A move to digital prescriptions will save the National Health Service a projected £300 million (US $379 million).

Saving staff time and offering patients a more convenient experience are both considered critical factors for the move, too.

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