Preventive care can both save costs and generate revenues. But it can also improve patient outcomes.
Annual wellness and other preventive care visits are a cornerstone of effective healthcare. They provide steady revenue — and can even increase revenue — while keeping overall costs down by helping to keep patients healthy and identify health issues early. In fact, one study found that healthcare organizations that focused on wellness visits generated greater primary care visit revenue, saw greater stability of patient assignment and brought in patients who were slightly healthier.
Unfortunately, trends suggest that millennials, who make up nearly 25% of the U.S. population, are less likely to have a primary care doctor and engage in preventive care in traditional ways. So how do you get millennial patients to come in for preventive care visits like flu shots and checkups? For hospitals and health systems that might only see these patients in an urgent care, emergency department (EDor specialty visit, using the right educational approach could be the key, along with offering the right combination of technology and services.
Organizations like the Advisory Board and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) suggest offering more options like telemedicine and working to engage millennials through technology. But that only works if you can let millennials know that you have what they need.
What are the steps to a millennial-based strategy for getting patients excited about wellness?
Start with your website. Include health articles and a frequently asked questions section so that when patients search for advice, your health system is somewhere they can turn. Consider adding a blog where you can share more tips for getting — and staying — healthy. Better yet, consider videos and graphics on your website and blog, which are more appealing to millennials. And make sure you include information on services like telemedicine and extended hours — along with patient stories and reviews, which the generation values highly.
Health systems should also take advantage of social media. With 95% of millennials on social media, it’s all but certain that your patients are there. Sharing health system-generated content through social media is an incredible way to motivate patients to come in for wellness visits.
Using education targeted specifically to the needs and interests of millennials can make a big difference in the success of a healthcare organization’s newsletter campaign. When these patients do enter the urgent care or ED, get their contact information so that the health system can reach out via text or email. Newsletters should be sent monthly, or at least quarterly, by text or email. Again, consider using video or graphics in the newsletter. When creating a newsletter, remember:
It’s important that healthcare providers and organizations never assume that patients understand what you are saying. Drop the jargon. Millennials don’t like to be talked down to. If you’re not sure if your message is not hitting home with your patients, try testing it on non-medical, millennial friends. Have them review your newsletter. Invite them to the office to check out your posters, pamphlets and videos. Are they boring? Hard to understand? Or maybe just not impactful? Healthcare organizations can also survey patients to see if their efforts are paying off.
Additionally, educational efforts aimed at millennials need to be brief. Millennials are used to getting information in bits and pieces. Focus on two or three key reasons why patients should come in for their wellness visit and leave it at that.
By creating an ongoing strategy focused on the importance of wellness, a healthcare organization’s chances of getting millennials into the office greatly improve. Through the use of a website, social media, email, text messages and newsletters throughout the year, healthcare leaders can be sure that their message will get through.
Jim Higgins is the founder & CEO of Solutionreach. You can follow him on Twitter.
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