We are the Millennials
We are a new generation of digital natives. With the power of a smart phone, we are accustomed to having the world’s information at our fingertips. Taxis, food, and friends are all only a quick message away and the torrent of information and media never stops flowing. We are visual, inquisitive and self-guided health learners, eager to make environmentally conscious and healthy lifestyle choices. We are the ultimate multitaskers and expect healthcare, along with everything else, to adapt to our lives. Using mobile smartphone technology, a next generation healthcare app with the following features would bring millennials and their doctors closer together while improving healthcare outcomes.
- Health Diary
- Doctor Chat
- Profile Building
- Scheduled Follow-Up Questions
- Appointment Scheduling
Welcome to the MyHealth App
After typing in a secure passcode to access the app (similar to banking apps) a patient is welcomed to their health stream of chronologically organized cards. These cards can alert the patient of upcoming appointments, past appointment summaries, test results, as well as self reported symptom logs and responses to scheduled followup questions from their doctors.
Millennials record their life
Over 350 million photographs are uploaded to Facebook each day, chronicling the minutiae of the life of each millennial. By documenting our lives, we can go back later and remember events in stunning detail. When we go to a doctor for help, we are asked to recount all important health changes since our last visit, or at least the important ones we can remember. This is woefully inadequate, and millennials would much rather document their feelings and symptoms in the moment with text and especially pictures. These records could be brought up during an appointment or could be accessed by the doctor beforehand for a more efficient meeting. With symptom reporting in the MyHealth app, millennials can better communicate their situation to doctors, and remember important details to improve their care.
Millennials are inquisitive
Modern search engines have only made millennials ask more questions. We have lots of questions when it comes to medical care, and we are used to the convenience of “asynchronous” messaging (texting). We message when we are free, and we get responses when the other person is free. Being able to instantly ask health questions to our doctor, or any doctor, would be the most valuable feature for millennials, and getting a quick answer or a request for an appointment would be very convenient. If this feature alone were offered, word-of-mouth about it across private social networks would be the best form of advertising one could ever hope for. What would be especially valuable and meaningful to millennial patients would be to receive recorded video responses from their doctors. This would also be great for the doctor to be able to sit down in a quiet room and have time to prepare their thoughts, or retake a video if needed, to ensure quality of care and effective communication. While many questions could likely be answered without an appointment, some questions require more attention and an appointment scheduler would be a valuable feature for a healthcare app.
Millennials rely on WebMD.com to answer questions that only their personal doctor can really answer.
Millennials are personalized
Millennials care about personalized care, and it increases trust and perceived value if the healthcare they use understands their personal needs. In the MyHealth app, there should be a profile builder where people can answer questions about themselves to better inform the doctor. We love talking about ourselves and this would be something we would want to fill out and even update answers for, as we see the value of personalized care. This could also save time catching up during real appointments, and raise doctor’s awareness of potential problems.
Millennials stay in touch
It can be hard to remember to follow doctors’ advice, but basic reminders are often so impersonal they are easily ignored. If a doctor wrote up a personalized optional follow up question for their patient to be sent a week or two later, this could fix that problem and build a stronger relationship between the patient and doctor. This might be the biggest way to increase the health of millennials whose busy lives often push health matters to the backs of their minds. Examples messages could be: “How is the medicine going?” at one or two weeks out from an appointment or, “Is your ear still hurting?” etc. This type of interaction would be valuable to millennials who would value the support and attention of their health care system in their everyday lives.
Millennials expect convenience, communication, and personalization.
Millennials care about their health
Convenience, Communication, Personalization. These are the core features that millennials will expect from the health care app of the future. Smart mobile phones can make healthcare a more integrated part of our lives extending long after and before an in-person visit with a doctor. Focusing on maintaining a personal connection with technology will be key. Scheduled followups written by a doctor and media chat will build a strong and trusting patient-doctor relationship. Mobile health access, and the ability to answer small questions quickly, is exactly the kind of convenience that millennials crave. Additionally, using mobile phones to document symptom histories for their doctors will paint a clearer image of a person’s condition when they communicate it to their doctors. Personalized profiles provide even more context around a patient’s life. Millennials are used to these features in their everyday lives. They take millions of pictures, record their thoughts, express their identities, and have extended conversations that aren’t limited by distance. Quality healthcare is very important to millennials. An app like this that puts their health at their fingertips is the kind of empowerment they have begun to expect, and once they get it, they will make sure the whole world knows.
Written by Gavin Ovsak. See workbygavin.com for more.