Telehealth Goes Mainstream: Millennials and the Virtual Practice

Posted by Michael Greiwe, MD | July 4, 2018 |
Michael Greiwe, MD

 

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Millennials, the population born between 1982 and 2004, are about to make a big impact on your orthopedic practice.

A Cox Health Marketing report stated,“Millennials are quickly emerging as a desirable audience for orthopedics.”

Cox Health conducted a study of 2,000 adults and released it just earlier this year. In it, they found that the aging Baby Boomer population is having a huge impact on orthopedics. But they also noted that millennials are strongly impacting service demand:

For hospitals and practices hoping to capitalize on this profitable opportunity both now and in the future, a clear understanding of millennial attitudes and preferences is key.

The study surveyed the attitudes of millennials and how they are expected to impact orthopedic practices in the future. This population is more active and prone to sports injuries while their treatment method of choice is telemedicine. In fact, studies show, they are not only open to e-health -- they prefer it.

This article will look at the growing impact of millennials on the orthopedic physician practice and how technology will be key to capturing revenue from this population.

Millennial Attitudes and Your Practice

The Cox Health Marketing study shed some interesting perspective on the next generation that will flood your practice: Millennials. The study polled 2,000 adults; 356 were millennials 18 to 33 years old.

The study found:

  • This population values health and wellness. They’re active, and their orthopedic injuries stem most frequently from sports.
  • Millennials expect “a retail-like experience” when selecting medical care. This is the generation stagnating brick and mortar stores; why hassle with going there when it can be ordered online? This population does not establish relationships with family practice providers, instead preferring the ease of telemedicine, a walk-in clinic, or simply going to the emergency room.
  • Digital marketing influences their provider choices, with social media, online ads, and email, more heavily influencing their decisions than older generations. The study found that 57% of millennials visited the orthopedic provider’s website prior to their visit.

Why should all this data matter to a busy orthopedic practice? Pew Research says that millennials are about to overtake baby boomers as the biggest slice of our American pie. By 2019 there will be 73 million millennials and 72 million baby boomers. By 2026 there will be a peak in this population to 76.2 million.

It’s clear that the millennial generation is about to impact your practice. This is the first American population that has grown up with the immediacy of digital technology. Whether you’re ready or not, these attitudes and habits will shape the orthopedic practice of the future. One of the biggest changes they will bring to the medical practice is a steadfast loyalty to their digital devices. For the medical practice gearing up to take on this new influx of patients, the next step is to look more closely at e-health applications – because these consumers demand it.

Millennials and Telehealth

“So, it should be no surprise that Millennials are leading the adoption of new approaches in healthcare that appeal to their tech savviness. When it comes to telemedicine, Millennials may just be the tipping point for adoption of this healthcare alternative.”

Media Logic

According to Nielson, over 98% of the millennial population own a smartphone. Of this group, 83% sleep with their phones and check it throughout the day on average 69 times. This population prefers shopping online and making all appointments – including physician visits – online.

Media Logic has been closely following this new generation and their attitudes toward and adoption of digital technology. They suggest that the population is struggling to navigate traditional healthcare systems. Despite their concern and focus on health, they are skipping preventative care in part because it isn’t convenient. Given that this population is both digitally savvy and time-strapped, telemedicine becomes an important service line offering to capture this population.

Some key findings tied to e-health and millennials include:

  • Media Post says 74% of millennials would select a virtual telemedicine visit over a traditional in-person visit.
  • According to Media Logic, 60% approve of telehealth as a replacement for a traditional in-office visit.
  • 71% want to be able to book doctor visits on a mobile app.

It’s clear that this population are demanding a new kind of healthcare system, one where the convenience, access, and speed of treatment mirrors the digital devices they are obsessed with.

The Future of Your Practice – Telemedicine

“Millennials in their 20s see regular doctor’s visits as time-consuming and expensive. They expect their health-related interactions to be the same as all the other information at their fingertips: fast, affordable, helpful, and even entertaining.”

Media Post

Millennials are soon to become the largest consumer of your healthcare practice. How you prepare to reach and hold this audience will certainly impact your bottom line in the coming years. Telehealth offers a way to improve communication with this audience in channels that they understand and use often.

There is a strong business case for using telemedicine in the orthopedic practice as a way to generate new revenue while reaching this population. Some of the benefits of telemedicine for millennials include reduced travel times and faster treatment. For providers, overhead costs are cut significantly, while patient volumes improve. With telemedicine adoption predicted to skyrocket in the coming years, now is the right time to consider this technology.

In the past, independent medical practices have lacked access to the some of the technologies that their hospital-owned counterparts have used effectively. Today, software providers like OrthoLive have developed a secure, HIPAA-compliant telehealth application that is affordable, easy-to-implement, and very popular with physicians and their patients.

We believe the writing is on the wall for telemedicine applications in the orthopedic practice. Consumer demand for this type of technology, along with the elimination of reimbursement and delivery barriers has created a perfect storm for the adoption of e-health applications. Now there is a way to provide this service to a receptive audience without the costs and risk associated with any technology implementation. OrthoLive has proven technology designed by an orthopedist and we are standing by to show you the future state of healthcare.

Contact us for a demo of OrthoLive today.

 

 

 

Topics: About Telemedicine, Patient, Practice, mobile health