Millennials’ are Driving Change in Social Media Use by HCPs

Millennial at laptop with healthy foods

Healthcare professionals have, on the whole, been late to the social media and mobile communications party. Well, times are changing and health and wellness professionals will need to adapt. Millennials are growing up will soon have the strongest purchasing power of any generation. Their comfort with smartphones and online resources is already a driving force in how HCPs approach their treatment and communicate with them. The other obvious fact is that more HCPs are now Millennials themselves.

The communication preferences and choices of Millennials have a huge impact on the marketplace. But all Millennials are not alike. Despite their cultural and attitudinal diversity, there are consistent themes in how they communicate and nurture relationships.

We are seeing four major themes about Millennials that will impact on how physicians and other healthcare professionals (HCPs), communicate and interact with this generation of consumers.

Theme 1: They Have a Different Definition of Wellness

  • Prioritize work/life balance. 49% of Millennials consider maintaining a work/life balance to be part of their health and wellness. They rank it higher than regular dental or physical exams or having health insurance (2).

“For Millennials, health and wellness is something to be maintained every day, through a multitude of small choices and actions.”

  • A healthy mind takes priority. 55% believe that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body, but not the other way around (2).
  • Natural foods/products as medicine. Over 25% say organic, natural and non-toxic products are part of maintaining their health. Many see these products as alternatives to traditional medicine (2).

Theme 2: They Trust Word of Mouth

  • Use online reviews. Nearly 50% of Millennials and Gen-Xers used online reviews (e.g., Yelp, Healthgrades) when shopping the last time for a health care provider. Only 40% of baby boomers and 28% of seniors used online reviews (3).
  • Reputation more valuable than MD recommendation. Millennials and Gen X are much more likely to decide on a hospital based on reputation, rather than on a physician recommendation (4).

Theme 3: They Choose Efficiency over PCP Relationship

  • They do not rely on a strong relationship with their doctor. Forty percent (40%) of Millennials indicated that their primary care doctor would not recognize them walking down the street (1).
  • Video chat is just as good as in-person. In fact, 60% of Millennials are interested in using telehealth options so they don’t have to come into the office for an appointment (1).
  • Retail clinics are used instead of their PCP’s office. They prefer retail (34%) and acute care clinics (25%) double that of boomers (17% and 14% respectively) and seniors (15% and 11% respectively). On the flip side, seniors (85%) and boomers (80%) visited their primary care physician significantly more than Millennials at 61% (3).

Theme 4: Benefits Outway Risks When it Comes to Privacy

  • Prefer a mobile app to manage their health. 71% of Millennials would be interested in a doctor/provider giving them a mobile app on their smartphone or tablet to actively manage their well-being for preventative care, review health records, schedule appointments (1).
  • Most would use a digital wearable device to give health data to a provider. 63% of Millennials would be interested in proactively providing their health data from Wifi/wearable devices to their doctor/provider so they can monitor their well-being (1).
  • They are more willing to share about their conditions. They are 2x as likely as non-Millennials to connect around a public online community around specific conditions or lifestyles (2).


  1. Salesforce, 2015 State of the Connected Patient, 2/12/15; Todd Pierce;
  2. CSpace Healthcare without Borders. How Millennials are Reshaping Health and Wellness; Katrina Lerman;
  3. PNC Healthcare, The Road Ahead in U.S. Healthcare. Will Patients Take the Wheel?;
  4. Healthcare Consumers: The New Reality, 2015;