Younger generations want more ways to see doctors online and web tools to manage their health and wellness than even Baby Boomers.

Consumers in general want more access to digital healthcare, but as it turns out younger generations want more ways to see doctors online and web tools to manage their health and wellness than even Baby Boomers.

That’s among the chief takeaways from a new survey of 2,000 consumers by consulting firm Accenture.

Virtual care has become an appealing channel for consumers with more complex needs. For example, 26% of survey respondents say they would seek out routine therapy and mental health visits, compared with 24% for physical injury treatment, and 23% for sexually transmitted disease screenings/treatments.

More than half of patients surveyed also expect digital capabilities—and these expectations increasingly influence who patients choose in a provider.

More than half of patients surveyed also expect digital capabilities—and these expectations increasingly influence who patients choose in a provider, Accenture says. For instance, in 2019, 70% of consumers are more likely to choose a provider that offers reminders for follow-up care via email or text, compared to 57% in 2016.

More than half of consumers (53%) in 2019 are more likely to use a provider offering remote or telemonitoring devices, compared to 39% in 2016, according to the survey. Younger consumers are likelier than any other generation to choose medical providers who offer digital capabilities, such as easy access to test results via mobile or online and requesting prescription refills electronically, says Accenture senior managing director, global health, Kaveh Safavi.

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“Younger consumers are likelier than any other generation to choose medical providers who offer digital capabilities, such as easy access to test results via mobile or online and requesting prescription refills electronically,” he says.

Other survey findings include:

  • The use of digital for self-service healthcare is also on the rise. 51% of all respondents say they use a wearable or mobile app to manage their lifestyle and healthcare conditions and more than half (53%) use virtual nurses to monitor health conditions, medications and vital signs.
  • When considering traditional in-person care, millennials (ages 22 to 38 in 2019) were two to three times more likely than Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 73) to be dissatisfied with the convenience of appointment times, the location and channel of care, the effectiveness of the care and whether the doctor prescribed the medication they expected. Gen Zeds (ages 18 to 21) are even unhappier, with 32% dissatisfied with care effectiveness and 24% dissatisfied with the medication prescribed, the location/channel of care, cost of treatment and responsiveness to follow-up questions.
  • Slightly more than half (55%) of Gen Zers and two-thirds (67%) of millennials said they have a primary care physician, compared with 84% of Baby Boomers. Without a primary care physician, some millennials are seeking some types of routine medical services from retail clinics (41%) and virtual care (39%).
  • Nearly one-third (29%) of consumers have used some form of virtual care—up from 21% in 2017—and almost half (47%) have used a walk-in/retail clinic.

“As more patients take control of their own healthcare, provider organizations must offer meaningful choices that fulfill the needs of all generational groups,” Safavi says.  “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.”

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