When it comes to gadgets, fashion and consuming entertainment, the demands of younger generations have reinvented how companies in those industries deliver services.
Naturally, healthcare services have been more focused on older generations and their needs, with an understandable reluctance to go overboard with alternative service methods and digitalisation.
However, in 2019, millennials (those born 1981 – 1996) became the largest generation in the US, with Generation Z (born 1997 – 2012) not far behind.
As those millennials enter middle age (and Gen Z to adulthood) and become more concerned with healthcare, they are demanding that healthcare providers embrace the digital age. And any provider looking to prosper in the next 20 years needs to take notice now.
Demands and expectations
A 2019 report by Accenture outlines the key factors influencing US healthcare patients on their choice of healthcare provider now and in the future.
Many of the responses in the survey are split by generation, with those of millennials and Gen Z giving a revealing insight into the digital preferences and expectations of younger generations.
While cost and effectiveness of treatment are important to all generations, over a series of questions millennial and Gen Z respondents give high importance to factors which can be simply addressed through digital innovation. They include:
- Convenience of appointment times
- Shorter waiting times when booking appointments
- Shorter waiting times on day of visit
- Responsiveness to follow-up contact
- Efficient operations
- Provider reputation and recommendations
- Convenience of the location or channel
These factors are highlighted repeatedly and emerge in queries regarding both dissatisfaction with current providers and what influences choices of future providers.
Patients want online appointments now
While the research report was conducted to analyse the future of healthcare services, some results show that attitudes towards more innovative approaches have already changed.
When asked three years apart about which specific digital services would increase the likelihood of choosing a provider, it’s clear that consumer attitudes are changing from wariness to expectation. And in this case, the results below are across both younger and older generations.
Accenture (2019). Today’s Consumers Reveal the Future of Healthcare – Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey. Retrieved from: https://www.accenture.com/t20190208t144039z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/pdf-94/accenture-2019-digital-health-consumer-survey.pdf
Clearly, for every interaction with a healthcare provider, consumers are looking for the most hassle-free experience – particularly around organising appointments. As shown above, in 2016 58% of patients stated they are more likely to choose a provider that offers the possibility to book, change and cancel appointments online. Only three years later this percentage has increased to 68%.
The freedom to manage their own appointments is an empowering experience for patients, but can be a huge benefit for providers too. Allowing patients to cancel and reschedule themselves has been shown to significantly decrease ‘no-show’ rates in other industries, something that remains a major problem for the healthcare sector.
How TIMIFY can help
While digitising treatment is a job for the scientists, the communication with patients can be modernised and improved with existing solutions such as TIMIFY’s appointment scheduling software.
- Patients benefit from the visibility of any available appointment, choosing the most convenient time and even their preferred doctor from the comfort of their digital device. This drastically reduces waiting times when booking and when visiting the provider for an appointment.
- In addition, automated pre- and post-appointment messaging is simple to set up and highly effective in improving no-show rates, gathering even patient feedback, when needed, and ensuring follow up appointments and messages are completed.
- Our resource management systems will even help bring reliability and shared visibility to internal work schedules, consultation rooms and equipment and even meetings, group events and classes.
Our system and features have proven their worth with thousands of long-standing clients across a range of industries and can be easily transferred and implemented to organisations in the healthcare sector.
Furthermore, at TIMIFY, we work with our clients to develop unique add-on applications and functionality specific to particular industries, such as apps for invoicing or allowing customer pre-payment when booking appointments, to save time on the day.
To see the full list of questions and responses from healthcare patients, read Accenture Consulting’s report ‘Today’s Consumers Reveal the Future of Healthcare’.
To find out more about TIMIFY’s online appointment scheduling for the healthcare sector, visit our website to book an appointment with one of our expert team.