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Patient needs are changing: Here’s a closer look at the impact

If you’re looking to attract new patients, you can’t rely on old tactics. Although there are some things that can stand the test of time, there’s no denying the need to adapt to ever-changing patient desires especially as the largest population of American adults are coming of age.

Millennials have either recently come off their parentsinsurance plans or they’re about to. They’re learning how to open insurance policies and manage healthcare payments in a time when patient payment responsibility is growing and putting more pressure on consumers. This causes young adults to either not have any insurance or avoid seeking medical treatment even if they are insured.

As a medical provider, you can see this as a challenge or an opportunity. You can fight the change and keep wondering why patients aren’t coming in your doors, or you can learn how to better meet the needs of patients today.

The following is a closer look at three major shifts in how patients are taking care of themselves and the effects they have on medical providers.

More patients are taking preventive care into their own hands

Millennials who choose to go without insurance or primary care aren’t throwing their health out the window. Rather, they’re focusing on preventive care measures like working out and healthy eating to decrease their likelihood of needing medical services.

But, at one point or another, these health-focused individuals will still find themselves in need of a medical provider. And when they do go in for treatment, they want personal, attentive care. They want to be educated about what caused their condition and how to prevent it in the future.

This is your time to shine. It’s your opportunity to show these young adults why having a primary care doctor is so important, and to make them realize the value of being a patient of your organization as opposed to others. If you establish a relationship with these patients, they are more likely to return the next time they need care.

Convenience has transformed the consumer mindset

A recent study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about 1/3 of American adults don’t have a primary care provider. Millennials comprised the majority of this population.

This is partially due to confusion around health insurance and increasing financial pressures, but the other reason primary care rates are dropping is convenience.

Patients are more concerned about how they feel in the present moment versus how they may feel in the future. This has shifted the patient mindset from I need to have a regular primary care doctor I can rely on to I need a doctor (any doctor) to treat me right away.

The result? More patients are going to walk-in clinics or bypassing primary care and going straight to a specialist. They expect to be seen immediately and they want fast solutions. Waiting a week for an appointment isn’t an option in their mind and having to come back for a follow-up visit isn’t ideal.

Connectivity is a must, not an option

How can providers keep up with the fast pace that a convenience-centered market demands? By implementing tech-savvy applications, such as an automated bill pay system, to help enhance your patientsexperience.

Simplify your communication process for setting appointments and receiving patients in the door. Your patients should be able to contact you with a quick online search and the click of a button and they don’t want to show up for an appointment only to wait and fill out paperwork. Rather, it’s better to let them fill out forms ahead of time via a patient portal. After their visit, many patients prefer to pay online, especially if they have ongoing payments to make.

It isn’t necessary to completely transform your office’s workflow, but it is worth exploring what a few simple changes such as ABILITY SECUREPAY can do to better serve your market.

By Inovalon