Older Americans, especially with underlying conditions, are more susceptible to getting serious complications from the virus, so they are more eager than ever to use at-home healthcare options. As a provider, this makes your job easier to convince boomers to engage with your digital offerings, but which ones resonate with them the most?
The PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a national research study on healthcare consumers fielded in July 2020, took a closer look at what boomers are looking for amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what we found.
Appointment: Video Call/Virtual Consults
Baby Boomers love in-person interaction. If anything, they crave it. But in light of the pandemic, they have quickly opened up their preferences for meeting with a physician.
In the PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, boomers shared which ways they would be willing to connect with their physician. It’s no surprise that in-person visits are the most popular, but nearly 50% are now willing to do video chat or virtual consult. And despite the bad rap seniors get for having trouble with technology, over one in four Boomers are also willing to try smartphone apps or online portals too.
If you’re planning to connect with more seniors digitally, you may want to push for them to try video calls (virtual consults) first. If those don’t work, another good approach is to integrate psychographics into your messaging. Unlike solely depending on generational data or demographics to target your audience, psychographic segmentation looks at a consumer’s inner motivators like beliefs and values. By appealing to these characteristics based on their psychographic segment, you can motivate patients to take action and pursue digital care options.
By looking at both what a generation prefers and what a psychographic segment prefers, you can target healthcare consumers even more specifically and deeply, resulting in higher patient engagement that increases market share and patient payment revenue.
Follow-Up: Live Phone Call
The older generations, including Boomers, are statistically more likely to prefer live phone calls for appointment follow-up from their primary care doctor or a specialist physician. For urgent care or hospital follow-up, Boomers are statistically more likely than Gen Z and Millennials to want a live phone call follow-up; however, they are open to digital approaches.
Boomers value strong communication skills from staff and according to the PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, nearly one in five Boomers are willing to change providers because of poor communication skills: 19% for urgent care; 28.8% for hospitals and 30.1% for primary care.
Diversify Payment Options
The days of paying by check in the mail are waning, although it is, and still should be, an option. Healthcare consumers want options when it comes to their payments, from how they pay for it to how the payment will work. These days, the most popular tend to be online.
A digital health platform makes it easy for patients to pay online using a credit card or their bank information. You could even look into other services like PayPal or Venmo.
While there are many who will want to pay all at once, that may not be preferred or even an option for others. Depending on what segment they are, you can determine what payment option a segment prefers. Online payment is the top choice among all psychographic segments according to the PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, but some also prefer PayPal like Self Achievers and Willful Endurers. The PatientBond Digital Health Platform adjusts based on each patient’s personal preference using these segments and shifts within them using AI.
As noted earlier, be sure to include contact information to your billing department or have a chat window for them to ask questions. Billing can work with patients on a case-by-case basis with a payment plan, making it easier for them to make these payments.
The last thing you want is for their bill to go to collections because it costs you money and hurts the patient experience. Going the extra mile to show you care goes a long way.
Digital Services: Top Preferences
Every healthcare consumer has a preference for what services they prefer. While same-day appointments are at the top of the list for many, including Baby Boomers, there are digital services you can offer, which Boomers will be quick to jump on.
Online scheduling is the top requested digital service by Baby Boomers for primary care providers. In fact, Boomers and Millennials are nearly equally interested in this service at around 30%. To go along with that theme, digital alerts and reminders are another requested tool among Baby Boomers with their primary care doctor. These are easy to implement on a digital health platform and these services are a great way to help patients keep their appointments too.
Hospitals and Health Systems
If you’re a hospital provider, you’ll want to take a slightly different focus. 27.3% of Boomer patients are eager for online registration and check-in, followed by online scheduling. This makes sense, considering Boomers want the easiest approach for getting in the hospital for appointments and for the process to be as hands-free as possible due to COVID-19.
Speed and efficiency are some of the biggest reasons why patients choose urgent care. While 38% of Boomers note they don’t have an urgent care provider, nearly every generation, except Millennials, agrees that the top service they want is same-day appointments. So, it’s no surprise that the top digital services Boomers request are online check-in and registration and online scheduling. At smaller numbers, they also want patient satisfaction surveys, video consults and digital reminders for certain tests.
These digital options are services all patients want, including Boomers. While they may be older, they are eager and willing to use these services if you offer them. They understand the world is moving toward digital, especially in healthcare with coronavirus, and they are embracing it because it’s safe, convenient and efficient. It’s time your healthcare offerings do the same.