Designing healthcare solutions for the empowered generation
Most of us are aware that health care is behind the times when it comes to digital maturity. A lack of adoption of more sophisticated methods is mainly due to health care’s intense regulatory requirements that have led to a significant focus on patient data security, often at the expense of innovation and experimentation.
However, it’s becoming harder to ignore that millennials and Generation Z (those born from 1981–1996 and 1997 onwards) are shaking things up, taking healthcare innovation into their own hands and bringing a new, patient-focused approach to the forefront.
The term ‘clinical’ is often used to describe the healthcare system, but with digital channels playing an increasingly important role in educating, empowering and directing users to appropriate services, adopting a more human-centred approach is critical for the sector to grow beyond such negative perceptions.
When designing healthcare solutions for the empowered generation, several factors should be taken into consideration…
Millennials do their research
Millennials are relatively well educated and are likely to compare treatment options and check quality ratings of doctors and hospitals. They consult with friends and family, online message boards, social media and other resources before taking action with a provider.
In response, healthcare facilities must remove unnecessary industry jargon and complicated information to better communicate with people in their 20s and 30s. Using plain language and matching terms that are searched for online can help to improve providers’ accessibility to this generation.
Cost transparency is important
Millennials are likely to research costs online and investigate whether their insurance covers their care. They’re also likely to discuss treatment costs with their doctor before moving forward with any procedure or medication.
For millennials, transparency and convenience are of utmost importance, so providers should do whatever they can to cater to these needs.
Posting prices online, as many retail clinics do, can help build trust. Online payment options will also help healthcare organisations catch up with other businesses in terms of convenience.
Bringing transparency to the cost and quality of healthcare services while engaging with patients digitally before they even come into the pharmacy, clinic or hospital are important factors that could foster better patient–provider relationships and drive improved health outcomes.
Convenience is a top priority
Telemedicine and virtual clinics are helping to fuel the on-demand aspect of health care, with roughly 60% of millennials showing interest in this practice. They expect easy access to information about their health and health care, seek user-friendly patient portals and appreciate digital contact with providers.
Being able to manage care from home is essential for millennial patient wellbeing. Australian start-ups like Coviu are helping to make these expectations a reality, offering physicians an easy way to deliver remote care services.
Consider the holistic experience
The millennial and Gen Z view of health encompasses more than a lack of disease. It also includes fitness and mental wellbeing, and providers are expected to play a role in every part of this model.
Facilities should take care to map out the entire user journey to identify opportunities to fulfil expectations. Providers should gain an understanding of where they can play a role extending beyond core offerings to design solutions that work within the context of the patient’s life. It’s important to think about how to reach patients with support solutions early in the planning and decision-making process and provide follow-up at-home care solutions.
Don’t neglect the impact of remote monitoring — digital interfaces can empower people to take control of their own health while providing guidance when it’s most needed.
In summary: begin with the end user
Healthcare providers are starting to act on reshaping their business models to address rising demands from younger generations. To be clear, the health care of the future doesn’t just mean wearables, virtual care and artificial intelligence — it’s also about experiences, services and convenience, all powered by subtle, behind-the-scenes tech.
To design the best experiences, put the user at the centre of decision-making. Gather information to better understand problems or needs to be addressed. Learn about users’ lifestyles, goals, values and challenges. Empathise with users and the problems they face.
To achieve the above, healthcare leaders will need to involve everyone from the doctor to the patient to the caregiver, and even the receptionist. Roles and how they interconnect need to be understood so that pain points can be identified and providers can create solutions for patients who need care.
Health care will always be driven by humans. By listening to the needs of end users, it should be clear where to begin.
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