How Can You Engage Generation Z in Healthcare?

This is the final post in a five-part series highlighting top insights from our white paper, Personalized Value-Based Care: Effective Multi-Generational Care Management Strategies.

It’s true that meeting the health needs of individuals across generations is partly about age-related clinical factors. But there’s much more to consider. Addressing generation-specific attitudes, concerns, and preferences regarding healthcare, as well as individual non-clinical factors that impact health, is integral to member engagement and better outcomes.

Here, we explore how organizations can improve the delivery of personalized, value-based care at scale for Generation Z health populations.

What Makes Generation Z Unique When It Comes to Healthcare?

Generation Z was born between 1997 and 2012, but for the sake of this blog, we’ll focus on older members of this generation (those needing adult rather than pediatric healthcare).

Gen Z doesn’t really know a world without the internet, smartphones, or social media. This is a major factor in their approach to seeking and utilizing healthcare services. They’re also tuned in to the benefits of holistic health and the relationship between mental and physical health.

Here are just some factors that influence the way Gen Z approaches healthcare:

  • Affordability and quality of care
  • Convenience and time
  • Easy access to health services, tools, information, and personal data
  • Social needs, including support for substance use disorders

Read on to learn how Gen Z’s unique attributes impact how healthcare organizations should approach their care management efforts.

Gen Z Demands Digitally-Savvy Healthcare

Generation Z expects healthcare experiences to be like their favorite retail experiences: fast, convenient, and with seamless two-way data sharing. Like Millennials, they want telehealth options and easy access to health tools and information.

Along with that, however, Gen Z still wants in-person interaction with their healthcare professionals. (One study found that 62% of Gen Z respondents felt this way).

Care management implications:

  • Investigate medical management platforms that make it easy for members to share data, schedule appointments, opt for virtual visits, and communicate quickly via a variety of modalities (text message, email, video).
  • Provide digital communication options as well as the opportunity for face-to-face interaction.

Gen Z Values a Patient-Centered, Holistic Approach

Gen Z wants to be part of the decision-making process in their healthcare journey. They’ll typically come armed with the information they’ve found online or learned from social media influencers, as well as insight gained through self-monitoring health apps or wearables that track personal data.

Gen Z also appreciates whole-person care that emphasizes mental, physical, and nutritional health. While many don’t have a primary care provider, it’s not unusual for a member of Gen Z to count a health coach, therapist, and/or personal trainer as part of their care team.

Care management implications:

  • Offer Gen Z members digital health tools to build engagement.
  • Be aware of health coaches, nutritionists, personal trainers, and other alternative healthcare professionals in your community that you can recommend.

Unmet Social Needs Are Prevalent Among Gen Z

A McKinsey survey found that 58% of Gen Z members report two or more unmet social needs, including income, employment, education, food, housing, transportation, social support, and safety.

And one poll found that 81% want their providers to ask about social needs and would welcome information and referrals to resources to help them meet these needs.

Care management implications:

  • Build rapport and trust with Gen Z members, creating a safe place for them to share concerns about social needs.
  • Consider medical management platforms that integrate with community organizations such as counseling services, food pantries, transportation services, and financial support services.

Mental Health Is a Top Priority for Gen Z

Coming of age during societal and environmental turmoil has taken a mental health toll on Gen Z.  This generation reports a higher rate of depression and anxiety than any other age group, according to a study by McKinsey & Company.

The good news here is that 68% feel comfortable discussing their mental health, reports Able Partners.

Care management implications:

  • Invite Gen Z members to open up about mental health concerns and connect them to behavioral and mental health professionals.
  • If a Gen Z member already has a behavioral health therapist, collaborate with that individual to provide a more cohesive experience.

Tech-Driven Strategies to Improve Care for Generation Z

Engaging Gen Z members requires a patient-centered approach focused on building trust, inviting collaboration, and openly discussing social determinants of health (SDOH). At the same time, digital tools and capabilities that enable quick, easy service and information sharing are key to engaging Generation Z.

A medical management platform that supports a data-powered ecosystem can strengthen the experience for Gen Z members, as well as the care teams that participate in their healthcare.

Give Care Managers Time to Listen to and Support Gen Z

With this generation (as with any care population), listening and trust-building is critical. Especially for the large percentage of Gen Z with social needs, care managers are in a key position to listen, observe, educate, and connect them to support. This is easy to say, but having the time to actually put it into practice can be a major challenge for care managers.

When care managers can streamline manual tasks and work processes with the help of automation, they gain time back to invest in developing interpersonal relationships with their patients.

Here’s a roundup of other key capabilities to look for:

Centralized data for a comprehensive member view. A major advantage of centralizing member data on one platform is that care teams get a complete, real-time picture of the patient. With insight from clinical sources (e.g. pharmacy, primary care, behavioral health) as well as non-clinical settings, (e.g., remote monitoring devices, SDOH data, practitioners like health coaches), care managers are equipped to better understand and guide their Gen Z members’ health journeys.

Mobile-friendly healthcare. Gen Z is used to conducting their lives from their phones. A platform that supports mobile appointment scheduling, telehealth options, and online member portals that give Gen Z mobile access to their health information is vital.

Tools that encourage proactive participation. Built-in assessments, forms, screenings, and educational resources enable care managers to give Gen Z the convenience they’ve come to expect – but don’t always find – in healthcare. The easier it is to engage in preventive care, the more likely Generation Z members are to follow through.

Integrations with social support services. A platform that supports partner integrations with community resources empowers care managers to follow through on helping Gen Z meet social needs. For example, a care manager might link a member to a peer support group in the community through a platform integration, plus arrange transportation with another partner to and from meetings – all with just a few clicks.

Learn more about personalizing value-based care for Gen Z – and other generations you serve. Download Personalized Value-Based Care: Effective Multi-Generational Care Management Strategies

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