Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 03, 2012

Survey: Gen Y Likes Getting Healthcare - Not!

Now, if only healthcare itself could be delivered over the Internet.

That’s how a ZocDoc survey has found that Generation Y feels about going to the doctor.  The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of ZocDoc, found “there is a distinct disconnect between the expectations of the digitally connected Generation Y and the realities of healthcare's current infrastructure.”

Understandably, more than half the 2,000-plus adults between the ages of 18 and 34 who were polled said they found the whole process of obtaining healthcare “frustrating.” Another 63 percent said they didn’t like “being at the mercy” of their doctor’s or dentist’s staff when making an appointment.  Probably, like the rest of us, they’d just like to show up when they feel like it.

Of course, that’s the premise of managed care clinics.  Come when you’re sick, then wait, wait, wait.  Obviously, this does not appeal to Generation Y!

While this may all sound very amusing, there’s a real problem here.  Since it’s such a “pain,” this generation just doesn’t get it.  Healthcare, that is.

Now at this time in their lives, most in Generation Y are healthy and probably need a doctor just for their acne or birth control prescriptions.  But it’s never too early to start creating a relationship with a physician so he or she can know your history.  Then, when something does happen, the clinician will know what they need to about you.

Like many, one of the things I hate most about managed care – and particularly when I need a pediatrician – is that you take what you get.  Except in very unusual circumstances when your sick child can wait until your pediatrician of choice is available, we get whoever’s on that day.  If you have a relatively healthy child, that’s fine. But I’ll never forget (or name) the doctor who diagnosed my son’s ear infection as strep throat!  If you just walk into a clinic, chances are the doc on call won’t have a clue about any previous health problems you might have had, or how they might be affecting your condition now.

The ZocDoc survey also found that Generation Y’s very dexterity and addiction to smartphones and tablets is another reason they may hate going to the doctor.  As the press release detailing this says, “Generation Y is accustomed to having information . . .With much of the healthcare industry plagued with antiquated processes and a lack of transparency or real-time information, this survey illustrates that this generation is feeling a divide between the immediacy and access they have come to expect in all aspects of their lives as compared to what today's healthcare system offers them.”

Another problem for Gen Y is that they don’t know how to evaluate a doctor when they do need one.  It may sound quaint but 76 percent said it is easier to find information on finding a hotel than to help them find a doctor or dentist who meets what they need.  And – sound familiar? – almost 80 percent said they pick a doctor or dentist on whether he or she takes their insurance.

As the wife of a dentist, I’ve learned that not all doctors – and dentists – are alike.  Before we met, I thought all doctors were pretty much the same.  But sadly, since knowing him, and since having my own serious illness, I’ve learned the hard way that you need to do your homework. 

"This study highlights the need for the healthcare space to play technological catch up to other industries," Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, said in the press release. "If we are not technologically savvy enough to make healthcare user friendly for our young population, then this generation will be less likely to regularly seek out the preventive care they need and deserve. As a physician, that's incredibly concerning."

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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