Younger and Older Patients: How They Perceive Practices Differently

In 2017, we surveyed over 1,000 Australian patients to determine, among other things, how exactly younger patients’ perceptions about medical care differ from those of older patients. The results were intriguing, but perhaps not surprising for a generation that’s grown up accustomed to mobile phones, laptops, and online ordering.

As you might imagine, younger patients — those between the ages of 18 and 34 — value and appreciate the convenience of technology more so than older generations. Read on to learn about younger patients’ preferences and what they mean for your clinic.

Google is used far more often by younger patients

Among all age groups, word of mouth was the most common way patients reported finding their current medical clinic (33%). However, younger patients selected Google as the 2nd most common choice by a wide margin (28%). Essentially, almost one-third of younger people find their medical practices through Google search results.

Compare this statistic to how often older generations are likely to use Google — only 12% of adults between the ages of 35 and 54, and 7% who were 55+ years old.

Convenience is key to appealing to the younger generation

Booking appointments was another area where we saw a significant difference between younger and older patients. For instance, when we posed the question, “What is the most important consideration when you’re booking a GP appointment?” most patients said it was the ability to book with their usual GP.

However, the ability to book with their usual GP is far more important to older patients than it is to younger ones. While 68% of those 55+ and 57% of people 35-54 selected this answer, only 40% of younger people did.

By contrast, younger patients were much more likely to cite factors of convenience as being most important when booking — for example, being able to book online, a nearby location, or a preferred appointment time.

Young patients are more comfortable with kiosk check-ins

While majority of people report that they prefer to check in at a front desk, younger patients don’t hold this preference as strongly as older patients. For instance, almost half of people between the ages of 18-34 (42%) said they’d prefer to check in using a kiosk or mobile. By comparison, 35% of those aged 35-54 and 29% of those 55+ said the same thing.

What these findings mean for practices

While we’re not suggesting that you need to run out and invest in all the latest-and-greatest technology today, clearly this is the direction our society is going in. More and more, young people expect the convenience of online booking, text communications from medical clinics, and kiosk check-ins. So, if you’ve been considering implementing some of these technological advances at your practice, it would definitely be a step in the right direction toward increasing your appeal among millennials.

Additionally, young people are far more likely to find medical clinics from Google searches than other generations. With that in mind, it’s a great idea to invest in search engine optimisation (SEO), if you haven’t already. Alternatively, you might consider placing Google ads.

Finally, if you already offer online booking and kiosk check-ins, for example, don’t be shy about mentioning that fact in your brochures, blog posts, and website content. Because convenience is such an important factor among millennials, you can appeal to this demographic by highlighting the ways you use technology to make things easier, faster and more convenient for your patients.

By implementing these tips, not only will your medical practice attract younger patients, but it will also be well-suited to meet the primary needs of millennials. Consider it a win-win for your practice and your patients.

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