The Growth Channel

4 data-driven ways to win millennial patients' loyalty

by Sharareh Afshani and Rebecca Tyrrell

Millennials are the largest living generation in the United States. Yet, despite their numbers, many providers don't fully understand the nuances in this group's unique health care preferences and needs.

New cheat sheet series: What different generations want from primary care

To learn more about what millennials—and other generational cohorts—want and need from primary care, we asked 3,000 consumers aged 18 to 91 about their urgent and routine primary care preferences. Here are four key traits of millennial patients we uncovered, and how primary care providers (PCPs) can prioritize these preferences and win their loyalty.

1. Quick to leave.

Most millennials are not loyal to their primary care providers. Millennials care deeply about on-demand access and have a very low tolerance for wait times, as such they won't hesitate to use urgent care if you're not available. We found:

  • Only 40% of millennials would tolerate a wait of more than one day to receive care for a mid-acuity condition like the flu.

  • Half of millennials sought care outside of a traditional PCP office for their most recent basic urgent care need, such as a fever or sore throat. Urgent care was the most reported alternative care site, but retail clinics and virtual visits are gaining popularity, too.

  • Just 19% of millennials say they will "definitely" or "most likely" stay with their current PCP for at least the next 12 months. Translating to a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of -50, which paints a grim picture for patient loyalty among this generation.

2. Value positive interactions—not just expediency.

Millennials care more about customer orientation than other generations. They expect positive, personalized encounters with their care team and are less tolerant of poor experiences. We found:

  • Of the 78% of millennials who care about a clinic's affiliation, past experience with a hospital or medical group is most likely to influence their preferences.

  • Millennials' most commonly cited source of information when selecting a primary care source was past experience, followed by a recommendation from friends or family.

3. Cost-conscious, but access driven.

Millennials are the most price sensitive of all generations when shopping for care, but are very open to paying for premium services—especially if they're related to access. We found:

  • Despite their price sensitivity, three-quarters of millennials would pay $200 a year for access to premium clinic services. In comparison, only 60% of Gen Xers and 45% of boomers would do the same.

  • Millennials are most interested in same-day, virtual visit, or specialist access guarantees. Premium customer service and integrated mobile apps are also attractive premium offerings to this generation.

4. Your best bet for telehealth.

Millennials are more open than any other generation—including Gen Z—to using virtual visits for basic urgent care. We found:

  • This generation is more likely than any other to have used a virtual visit for their last basic urgent care need.

  • Even though most millennials do not yet use virtual visits as a main source of primary care, nearly a quarter say they would "definitely" or "probably" consider using a live virtual visit in the future.

Millennials are price sensitive, driven by convenience, and attracted to telehealth. Understanding their needs and finding the sweet spot of convenience and value will be key to winning their business and cultivating long-term loyalty.

Want more insights about the health care behaviors and preferences of millennials and other generational cohorts? Check out our cheat sheet series on what consumers really want from their primary care experiences.

What different generations want from primary care

Want more insights about the health care behaviors and preferences of millennials and other generational cohorts? Check out our new cheat sheet series on what consumers really want from their primary care experiences.

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