Event Horizon for the Healthscape: Part I

It’s happened. Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the United States. There are now 83.1 million new healthcare consumers engaging the Healthscape, and this emergence converges with a drastically evolving healthcare system. Fee-for-service is becoming a scene in the rearview mirror, while fee-for-value is rapidly approaching as the Event Horizon for how our country fundamentally pays for healthcare services.

Medicare is projected to write bad checks for hospital bills as early as 2030; we spent $591 billion on Medicare in 2013 alone. The majority of all U.S. healthcare costs—86%—was comprised of chronic disease management. Baby Boomers are estimated to see a physician three to six times annually. Millennials? No more than twice.

This convergence of reimbursement changes, chronic disease spending, and the rise of a new generation have all helped drive the consumerization of healthcare. Even though 73% of patients say face time with their doctors matter most, 40% feel rushed through appointments, and more than 60% of Millennials share negative experiences with their social circles. Not with their doctors or with the hospital, but via Facebook and Twitter. This statistic becomes even more poignant when you take into account that Millennials are twice as likely to visit a doctor based on personal recommendations. They search for health information online first, primarily on smartphones, and seek out doctors the same way they seek bespoke denim.

“When I needed to find a new physician,” says Kay Zimmermann, a 25-year old patient, “I looked for a doctor within my insurance network and then turned to online reviews. Based on the comments, I ruled out several doctors, including one I was originally considering because someone mentioned they felt rushed and treated like a paycheck during their appointment.”

Sources:

  • “How Millennials shop for healthcare,” Nuance Communications.
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

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