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By: Genny Gordon on November 21st, 2019

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How Health Systems Can Attract Millennials

Digital | Patient Experience | Patient Access | Online Scheduling



This is the first in a three part series focused on helping healthcare leaders understand how different generations access care to improve engagement and brand loyalty.

Did you know that millennials are projected to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest generation in 2019? In 2016, they numbered 71 million, while Baby Boomers numbered 74 million.1 However, with millennials about to represent the largest contingency of the US population, health systems need to strategize ways to not only understand the needs of these younger consumers, but also develop programs to capture their attention and win their loyalty. 

Here are five things you should know about millennials and how they access care, as well as ways to engage them more effectively, according to our latest research based on a survey of 1,000 healthcare consumers:

  1. They want to be able to research their options: While most consumers prefer to find a new specialist through a referral from their PCP, self-research is the primary method for millennials, 42% of whom said they found a specialist through their own research. To engage these digital-savvy researchers, health systems need to increase their presence online and ensure that millennials encounter consistent information as they build awareness of providers and services. 
  2. They want the ability to book online: Even though most consumers still prefer to call a health system’s access center to book their appointments, the desire to book online is growing, especially amongst millennials, who show the greatest interest. In fact, 56% would switch providers for the ability to do so. Diversify booking options and investing in consumer self-scheduling will allow health systems to both expand patient access and convert this demand.
  3. They want appointments that fit into their schedules: Across generations, availability is a deciding factor when selecting a provider. When asked whether or not they’ve looked for and switched providers to get an appointment sooner, nearly 40% of all consumers said they had. The number of millennials who had done so? More than half (57%). By surfacing appointment availability across the network, particularly online, and offering convenient appointments (e.g. same day), health systems can earn the loyalty of these younger consumers.
  4. They want more convenient care options: In the last 12 months, 51% of millennials have visited a retail clinic (e.g. CVS or Walgreens) and 57% have been to an urgent care clinic, higher than any other generation. With millennials looking for their healthcare experiences to mirror those in other industries in terms of speed and ease of interactions, organizations have an opportunity to drive new patient acquisition with younger patients by partnering with other healthcare providers (e.g. clinics) to offer care outside the hospital’s four walls and expand access to timely care.
  5. They want the ability to see their provider in their own home: According to Kaufman Hall, more than ¾ of leading health systems have limited to no direct-to-consumer video or telephone visits available, with many citing consumer disinterest as the reason.2 However, 45% of millennials said they’ve consulted with a provider via virtual visit and half said they’d switch providers for the ability to do so. To expand conversion opportunities and differentiate themselves from their competitors, health systems should offer virtual care options.


For more insights into how today’s consumers–across generations–access care and trends over time, download the 2019 Patient Access Journey Report.

1 Fry, Richard. “Millennials Expected to Outnumber Boomers in 2019.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 1 Mar. 2018,
2 Kaufman Hall. 2019 State of Consumerism. 2019.