Healthcare PR: Companies Tip their Hat to Tech to Boost Millennial Engagement

Healthcare PR

As stated in part one of our series on best practices for engaging millennials using healthcare PR strategy, we delved into the various ways companies – particularly insurers – can better engage the “always on” workforce. Clearly, millennials are a tech-savvy generation – they grew up with it! This particular generation expects a lot when it comes to engagement, and technology holds the potential to help capture their attention and drive optimal engagement.

When it comes to technology, millennials want convenience and accessibility. This on-demand generation wants services that accommodate their busy schedules. Rather than having to adjust a schedule to visit the ATM to deposit a check when a customer can quickly take a photo of the check, millennials would rather open an app, chat with a doctor, have a prescription delivered and know exactly how much it’s going to cost before leaving.

This blog covers two areas where healthcare companies are successfully leveraging technology to engage and adapt to millennials’ expectations.

Telehealth

Millennials grew up playing video games on PlayStation and Xbox consoles and have always lived in a world where Google can help them find the answer to anything. With a cell phone or another mobile device usually within an arm’s reach, it’s no surprise that this generation is pushing the healthcare industry to drive greater adoption of electronic services and for technological improvements in healthcare.

This move to digitize and democratize healthcare is front and center in today’s presidential election. Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, was on-point with millennials when she announced her plan for mental health care that utilizes telehealth for care coordination while addressing the shortage of mental health providers. Since the adoption of this behavioral telehealth by health plans, telehealth services have increased at a rapid rate. Insurers are thrilled because they’re beginning to see the benefits of having better access to care.

Specifically, the introduction of behavioral telehealth, telepsychiatry or telemental, will continue to gain traction with millennials.  The technology will also help to control health care spending, achieve positive health outcomes and increase patient engagement.  For example, companies like MYidealDOCTOR and Breakthrough allow patients to search for a licensed therapist or psychiatrist, book an appointment and meet with them on a computer or smartphone. This online, on-demand type of service is not only convenient but effective, two important factors when it comes to attracting millennials.

Transparency Tools

Millennials are more cost-conscious than previous generations and are more apt to switch doctors or visit urgent care facilities. They want to be able to go online and quickly look up the up-front cost estimates of doctor visits before making the appointment. Call it shopping around or kicking the tires – millennials want to be able to weigh and compare information before making a decision. In fact, fifty percent of this cost-conscious generation frequently checked online information about their insurance options during their last open enrollment period, according to a survey by PNC Healthcare. As the generation graduating college with the most amount of student loan debt, it makes total sense why millennials do not welcome hidden healthcare costs and shy away from expensive charges.

A 2016 “State of Employee Benefits” report that SHIFT client, Benefitfocus, released on actual behavioral benefits enrollment data across large employers revealed that high-deductible health plans (HDHP) were the most popular for millennials. As a result of HDHPs, millennials are more aware of medical service prices because more of the responsibility falls on their own wallets. The expectation from millennials is that they want transparent information about their healthcare, and they want it in real-time. Companies like PokitDok and Oscar Health, which utilize medical claims data to look up prices for doctors or services, are growing in popularity. And Healthagen’s cost transparency platform helps users compare pricing for common medical procedures against insurance plans, so patients understand the financial obligation before stepping foot in a doctor’s office.

Healthcare organizations looking to reach and engage millennials need to remember to meet them where they are and be able to demonstrate that they can provide the highest quality of service at the lowest cost. Technology can make healthcare more approachable for millennials by removing burdens to the accessibility of services and enabling options that help to reduce costs.

In part three of our series on engaging millennials, we’ll take a look at the role that data can play in driving millennial engagement using healthcare PR.

Theresa Masnik
Account Manager

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Posted on September 29, 2016 in Healthcare

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