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Younger Patients More Likely to Be Dissatisfied With Healthcare, Turn to Nontraditional Health Services

Jaime Rosenberg
Unsatisfied with the status quo, younger patients are even more likely to use nontraditional health services, such as walk-in clinics and telehealth, compared with older generations.
As the US healthcare delivery system continues to evolve, patients are more readily shifting their focus to nontraditional health services, including walk-in clinics and telehealth. Unsatisfied with the status quo, younger patients are even more likely to do so compared with older generations.

These findings come from an Accenture survey of more than 2000 US consumers that gauged attitudes toward both traditional and nontraditional healthcare delivery services.

“Healthcare consumers today are changing, and their expectations for convenience, affordability, and quality are redefining how they engage at each stage of care,” according to the survey report. While the survey identified trends that spanned all generations, it also identified various generational gaps.

Ranging from treatment to transparency about care to convenience and wait time, Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) and Gen Z (born 1997 onward) were more likely to report being dissatisfied with aspects of traditional care. For example, while 5% of the Silent Generation (born 1928 to 1945) and 4% of Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) reported being dissatisfied with the effectiveness of treatment, 32% of Gen Z reported the same. Other differences include:
  • 23% of Gen Z and 13% of Millennials are dissatisfied with transparency about care compared with 9% of Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1980) and Baby Boomers and 3% of the Silent Generation
  • 24% of Gen Z and 15% of Millennials are dissatisfied with responsiveness to follow-up questions outside the appointment compared with 12% of Gen Xers, 11% of Baby Boomers, and 10% of the Silent Generation
  • 24% of Gen Z and 13% of Millennials are dissatisfied with the convenience or location of care compared with 8% of Gen Xers and 4% of Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation
At the same time, attitudes toward digital capabilities and other nontraditional methods of care delivery have risen. In 2019, 70% of consumers reported being more likely to choose a provider that offers reminders for follow-up care through email or text message, compared with 57% in 2016. Up from 39% in 2016, more than half (53%) of consumers also reported being more likely to use a provider who offers remote or telehealth services.

By generation, younger consumers are much more likely to base their provider decision on these digital capabilities. And the popularity of nontraditional care sites has also increased over the years.

“Nontraditional care delivery services are making rapid inroads,” according to the report. “Roughly 29% of US respondents say they have used some form of virtual care, and walk-in/retail clinics have already gone mainstream (47%).”

Popularity of these nontraditional healthcare services even surpassed traditional healthcare services for certain nonurgent needs, including for colds/viruses (65% vs 48%), flu shots (62% vs 54%), and checking vitals (59% vs 54%). These services also ranked high for vaccinations, mental health treatment, sexually transmitted disease screenings and treatment, and major surgery.

The survey also found that telemedicine was particularly appealing for patients with more complex needs. These patients were more likely to seek out routine therapy/mental healthcare (26 vs 20%), physical injury treatment (24% vs 11%), and routine cancer screenings (18% vs 9%).

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