Practice Growth

5 Reasons Why Millennials Choose Urgent Care

5 Reasons Why Millennials Choose Urgent Care

Chances are, you have seen headlines, forwarded emails, and overall siren calls for the mystical Millennials and the many ways they have been hypothesized to change your business and the world. They have been largely mis-categorized and misjudged, and while they are different from generations that precede and follow, they are really just asking for things that all people want. Afterall, a desire to lead a meaningful life, be respected at work, and be healthy in body, mind, and soul is hardly unique, right? What is unique, however, is that they are demanding these and voting with their wallet.

The reality is that Millennials are disrupting healthcare without even meaning to. Simply put, the values that matter to them are drastically different than those of previous generations. Their focus is on wellness not “just” health but when they do need to see a doctor, they expect a more patient-centric experience, more cost transparency, and, perhaps most of all, convenience. Millennials expect continuous improvement across the healthcare system as a whole and the way most primary care offices operate just doesn’t cut it. A survey conducted by PNC Healthcare found that Millennials make up 25% of the patients seen at urgent care centers — that’s about twice as many as Baby Boomer patients (17%).

5 reasons Millennials Choose Urgent Care

1. Millennials value convenience over almost anything else

Millennials Value Convenience - Urgent CareWith the touch of a button, you can have your groceries, new shoes, or even prescriptions delivered right to your door. Millennials have come to expect this level of immediacy in every aspect of their lives. Healthcare is no exception. That’s exactly what makes urgent care centers so appealing to Gen Y. Instead of calling to book an appointment at their doctor’s office — and potentially wait an average of 24 days to be seen — they can walk into their nearest urgent care clinic. While a Millennial in need of non-emergency care may opt for urgent care over their primary care provider’s office, long wait times can still be a major deterrent.

To mitigate this problem and meet the demand for more convenient care, mobile appointment booking is the way to go. The average urgent care wait time for people who book an appointment with Solv is under 8 minutes. That’s significantly lower than the 15 to 40 minute average wait time for care at urgent care facilities without an appointment.

2. Millennials are price-sensitive when it comes to healthcare

Millennials are Price Sensitive - Urgent CareOne of the most notable statistics from the PNC Healthcare survey is that “54% of Millennials said they’d delay or avoid getting medical treatment because of costs, compared to 37%
of Boomers and 18% of seniors.” This is likely because, while Millennials earn 20% less than previous generations (despite having more education), healthcare costs are still rising. To make matters worse, most patients won’t know how much the final cost of care is until they receive the bill. This lack of transparency, coupled with lower earnings, makes Millennials more likely to compare costs before seeking care.

For a Millennial to trust your urgent care center — and continue to choose you when they have other options — transparent pricing is a must. This can be done by listing services and associated costs online, being clear about which insurance providers you accept, and communicating ahead of time about any additional costs they’ll incur for care.

3. Millennials are less likely to seek preventive care

Millennials Don't Seek Preventative Care - Urgent CareMillennials are less likely to seek preventive care than any other generation — even when it doesn’t cost them anything. Instead, they turn to the internet and their friends to seek advice on any non-emergency medical needs. Part of this can be attributed to the Millennials focus on overall wellness, not “just” health. Physical activity, healthy eating habits, career satisfaction, and time spent with friends and loved ones all play a role in how healthy a millennial sees themselves. While this isn’t a bad thing, it does mean that seeking care, even free, preventive care just isn’t a major concern. They’re more likely to view healthcare as a last resort measure than a priority.

This means when they do need care, they are more likely to go to urgent care to get it. By offering mobile appointment booking, transparent wait times and pricing, and a more patient-focused experience, urgent care centers can ensure that when the need arises, Millennials will turn to them.

4. Millennials are on the move

Millennials are on the Move - Urgent CareAccording to the Pew Research Center, 20% of Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds reported having lived at a different address one year earlier in 2016. On top of that, with more flexible jobs, and a greater propensity to travel, many young people today are living more nomadic lives. Additionally, as many have relocated to new cities for jobs and opportunities, few have primary care physicians or a family doctor. As a result, few have a solid plan in place for how they will receive care when they need it, and as a result, turn to the internet and the local centers they are aware of nearby.

According to Cassandra, a research firm focussed on Millennials and Gen Z, 54% of Ys are interested in going on a wellness vacation (e.g., yoga retreat, meditation retreat). They view such trips as productive, notable, and share-worthy experiences that are ultimately an investment in their health. There is a very notable shift in attitude around healthcare in which Millennials are focussed on preventative measures, but also need quick, easy, affordable, and convenient options for everyday health concerns.

5. Patient-focused care is key to Millennials

Millennials want Patient-Focused Care - Urgent CareJust as Millennial consumers expect a more personalized experience when interacting with a brand, they want the same from their healthcare provider. This doesn’t mean Millennials will default to having a relationship with one doctor — most don’t. What it does mean is that the patient wants his or her health concerns taken seriously.

Millennials use digital tools extremely well and are more well-informed than other generations when it comes to healthcare. Still, internet fatigue happens and, at some point, they’re going to need guidance from brands and people. This is where urgent care centers have a unique opportunity to step in. Simply put, Millennials want the doctor to work for and with them to address their health concerns in a way that makes them feel like seeking out in-person care was the right choice.

The business model of urgent care centers lends itself incredibly well to keeping up with Millennial healthcare trends. Millennials are coming to urgent care. Will they keep coming back? That depends on how well you meet their care needs — and consumer expectations.

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