Millennials and Baby Boomers: What’s the Difference?

Lawrence de la Haba

Actually, quite a bit. While the Congress and the President debate the direction of healthcare, their primary attention is on the Baby Boomer Generation, i.e., those people born between the years 1946 and 1964. And for all the right reasons. Every day, this group is spending and consuming more healthcare dollars than ever before. However, a funny thing has recently happened to the United States Population.

People born between 1980 and 2000 have recently become the largest segment of the population.

In other words, according to the US Census Bureau estimates, Millennials now number 83.1 million and represent more than one-quarter of the nation’s population. Their numbers now exceed those of the 75.4 million baby boomers! In addition, Millennials are more diverse than the generations that preceded them, with 44.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group.

What Does This Mean for Healthcare Providers?

According to a recent Horizon Report, Millennials As Healthcare Consumers, published by the Health Industry Distributors Association, reaching Millennials is a lot different than reaching their parents.

Highlights of the Survey:

  • Millennials are much less loyal to providers compared to other generations
  • They are highly motivated to switch when they find providers who:
    • Are more convenient
    • Offer superior amenities, products, and equipment
    • Are more cost-effective
    • Take a more patient-centric approach
  • A positive or negative Millennial patient experience will be multiplied many times over by the Internet

Millennials tend to be transaction based, and if they don’t like a particular transaction, they will quickly seek out an alternative; but more importantly for providers, they will let others know exactly what they did not like through social media. They rely less on relationships and more on information. However, this is a double-edged sword; information on the Internet may not be accurate and in some cases, may be completely inaccurate.

Reaching Millennials

Get Social Too. Use social media to advertise your services and any facility or staff improvements. Mobile applications are where most Millennials get their information and recommendations for everything from pizza to medical care. You need to be part of their network of information.

Enhance Your Turnaround Time. Time is of the essence with Millennials. They do not want to sit and wait for care and they want their test results the same day. Make sure you have enough staff to speed up processing time and, whenever possible, have test results available the same or next day.

Close the Feedback Loop. Millennials will frequently rate their experiences and share that experience. Whether good or bad, make sure you respond to feedback. It will show you care and in the case of a negative review, you can respond to any concerns. A website that makes reviews easier than ever means a healthcare provider’s reputation is more important than ever 

Emphasize Cost-Effective Care. Millennials are more likely to have high-deductible health insurance plans and high out-of-pocket expenses. Ensure that all costs and follow-up visits or tests are clearly communicated to avoid any surprise expenses, as this will surely result in a negative review.

US Census Bureau:

Health Industry Distributors Association: Millennials as Healthcare Consumers

Contact us for more ideas and advice.

Lawrence de la Haba is Senior Vice President of Business Development at Graham-Field.


About GF Health Products, Inc.

Graham-Field is a major manufacturer of healthcare products used in the extended care, acute care, primary care and homecare markets. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, Graham-Field has wholly owned domestic factories in WI, GA, NC, and RI, with additional distribution facilities in MO, GA and CA. Graham-Field product brands include Basic American Medical Products™, Everest & Jennings®, Gendron®, Grafco®, Hausted®, Intensa®, John Bunn®, Labtron®, Lumex® and Lumiscope®. Visit or call 1.770.368.4700.