Millennials now outnumber the Baby Boomer generation in terms of total population, and their attitudes toward healthcare will shape the future of the industry. For that reason, understanding what millennials want out of their healthcare and what they expect from their providers is crucial in order to get a sense of where the industry is moving.

 

According to a Salesforce report evaluating the generational healthcare preferences of Americans, millennials are more likely than older generations to forgo regular visits to a general care physician, likely due to the high cost of healthcare and the fact that many millennials have yet to develop some of the pressing health concerns that affect older age groups. The survey also found that millennials are more interested in using digital health tools than other generations, including an openness to video calling with doctors and accessing health devices through tools like 3D printers.

 

Some facts

  • Millennials cite time, money, and uncertainty as major factors in skipping physician visits, according to USC’s Keck School of Medicine
  • 76% of millennial Americans value online reviews when choosing a doctor, according to the Salesforce report
  • 71% of millennials would like to engage with their health care provider through a mobile app, according to the same survey

According to an article by Forbes, millennials tend to turn to their peers when facing a health issue, rather than going straight to a doctor. They also trust their peers and technology to help overcome health issues, and may look for insight and tips on social media or consult the Internet before scheduling a doctor’s visit. In order to adapt to the needs of millennials, healthcare providers should embrace advances such as online health portals and video conferencing opportunities.

In general, millennials are comfortable using technology to improve their healthcare experience, and they view the web as an important resource when facing a health crisis. From reading online reviews before choosing a doctor to consulting online diagnosis tools, the Internet shapes many of the healthcare decisions for people in this age group. We took a look at some of the tools millennials turn to when making health decisions, from the apps and fitness trackers that keep them healthy to the diagnosis tools they turn to when they have a concern.

 

WebMD and Online Diagnosis Tools

Founded in 1996 by tech entrepreneur Jeff Arnold, WebMD is an online database that contains information about health and wellness. The website provides resources for everything from evaluating drug prices to finding a doctor, along with news articles and opinion pieces from experts in the health field. One of its most famous features is the Symptom Checker, which allow visitors to list the symptoms they’re experiencing and produces a list of related conditions.

 

These services are free, convenient, and widely accessible, unlike a trip to the physician, and they can be hugely informative when used appropriately. One major issue with the Symptom Checker, though, is that it lists all possible conditions related to a symptom, including rare, life-threatening, or serious conditions. Without the guidance of a doctor, patients may jump to the worst possible assumption about their health.

 

According to the survey “Millennial Mindset: The Worried Well,” millennials are particularly prone to misusing online diagnosis tools: 37% of millennials reported self-diagnosing health issues they don’t have, compared to 24% of baby boomers and 26% of Gen X-ers. What’s more, 44% of millennials reported worrying about their health after looking up health information online.

 

WebMD is a useful tool as a first line of defense when facing a health issue. If a patient has a headache or flu-like symptoms, for example, they can use the website to look up possible at-home treatments and over-the-counter medicines before making a trip to the doctor. If their symptoms don’t clear up on their own, though, patients need the input of a qualified medical professional.

 

Diet and Fitness Apps

  • Fitbit is a company that produces a smartwatch with personal fitness tracking properties. The Fitbit tracker measures the steps a person walked in a day, the quality of their sleep, their heart rate, and other health-related metrics, which customers can access via mobile app. The company was founded in 2007, and Fitbit has since improved upon its original model, releasing the Fitbit Charge 3 in October 2018, which is the first device to feature an oxygen saturation sensor. Expect even more sophisticated tracking metrics from the tech company in years to come.
  • Workout Apps Whatever your athletic goals, there’s a fitness app out there to help you meet them. From the Couch to 5K running app to Daily Yoga‘s over 400 poses, smartphone apps are a huge tool to help consumers stay active, especially if they can’t afford a gym membership or on days they don’t have time to get to the gym. One huge focus of wellness for millennials is preventative care, and staying fit is a huge boon to overall health, so these workout apps can be great resource. If you’re looking for the perfect fitness app, check out Men’s Health magazine‘s top fifteen smartphone apps for getting fit.
  • Diabetes Management Apps For diabetes patients, blood sugar management apps can be a helpful tool to monitor their condition and keep their blood sugar at a healthy level. Glucose Buddy allows patients to log their blood glucose levels and offers reminders to check their blood and take medicine, and it works for people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Other diabetes management apps include Sugar Sense ,mySugr, and Diabetes Connect. Many of these apps share common features, such as features for self-reporting blood sugar levels and tools to track food or medication intake.

Workout apps, diabetes management apps, and health trackers like the Fitbit are just a few examples of the wide variety of diet, fitness and health-related applications available to consumers. For people looking to track their diet, reduce calorie intake, or make sure they’re getting enough of a certain nutrient, calorie tracking and food tracking apps can be helpful. Meditation and mindfulness apps such as Calm and Headspace can help improve mental health. Whatever your health concern, odds are there’s technology available that was designed to help.

This boom in health-related tech tools has huge benefits for people with food allergies. While many of these technologies are in their early stages, they point to a future in which people with food allergies have sophisticated, wearable technology that helps them avoid their allergen both at home and in public, and assists them when a reaction takes place.

  • Aibi is a wearable for kids that helps detect if there is a risk of Anaphylaxis, informs a adult caregiver and then helps give the correct dose of Epinephrine to the child.

– – –

Interested in more insights from Nima on advancements in health technology? Check out all our recent articles:

Scientifically proven: Nima can improve the quality of life for those with Celiac Disease

Consumer Testing & Health Technologies: A Brief History

The Controversy over Nima: Disruptive, Divisive, and Delightful