Posted on July 15, 2015
Let's face it, the crafty "do it yourself" mantra is no longer for grandma. Now, young adults under the age of 35 (a.k.a. millennials) dominate the 29 billion dollar crafting industry. In fact, millennials are bringing together technology, creativity and entrepreneurism as they take on more DIY projects. The same goes for healthcare decisions.
According to research conducted last year from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), do it yourself healthcare, including mobile apps and consumer medical devices, is set to be a top healthcare trend in the next few years. And more and more physicians are willing to consider information about their patients coming from DIY devices.
This idea of DIY healthcare isn't entirely new. The invention of the fever thermometer, bathroom scale and even the home pregnancy test could be considered DIY devices. Today, those DIY ideas are in digital form such as blood testing kits, exercise tracking devices and use of apps to track vitals. In fact, consumers can now buy strep throat test kits on Amazon. Parents can make better choices about bringing their kids to an urgent care or emergency room now, avoiding costly, time-consuming healthcare visits.
Furthermore, over half of the American workforce will be considered a millennial by 2020. Research shows that 4 in 10 millennials are interested in co-creating products with companies. Many brands are taking advantage of this and are now offering customizable options. This demographic, and more importantly, these behaviors simply cannot be ignored.
Hospitals should incorporate DIY tools into efforts to engage patients. Here's three ways:
- Share free apps with your patients. Not all hospitals and systems have the resources to develop owned applications. Help your patients simplify the process by giving them tools to help them make smart decisions about their healthcare.
- Use personal health devices or wellness tracking apps in community relations projects. If you're going to sponsor a community wellness event, incorporate apps that encourage weight loss, drinking more water or even smoking cessation.
- Bring a support group to the web. We're already seeing hospitals and health systems rethinking the traditional community support group. You can use your existing social media accounts to conceptualize the idea tomorrow.
Many experts think millennials will overtake boomers as the nation's biggest consumer buying group. We think that insurers and healthcare providers that survive or thrive in the future are those who adapt sooner than later to the preferences of this fast-paced, technology-driven generation.