I just attended my first session of the 2010 CBM conference. The presenters were Linda MacCracken of Thomson Reuters and Andrew Snyder of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (South Bend, Indiana). Their topic was “Reaching Multiple Generations: Message & Means.” They pointed out how important it is to differentiate between the different generations when we develop our communications strategies. Each generation thinks differently about healthcare.
Evidently Thomson Reuters has a database of 100,000 people whom they survey annually to capture their views on healthcare. Of course, healthcare systems see a lot more Greatest/Silent Generation folks and Boomers than they do Gen Xers. People in the Greatest/Silent Generation have 344 discharges per 1000 population. That’s a very high concentration. That compares to 111 discharges per thousand for Baby Boomers. This points to just how important the Greatest/Silent Generation is at this time for healthcare organizations.
Linda pointed out the difference between how the older generation thinks about healthcare compared to Baby Boomers. The move has been from a “direct me” mentality of the Silent/Greatest generation to an “engage me” mindset of the Baby Boomers. Meanwhile, Gen Xers wants to be educated while Millennials want to be connected.
For the Silent/Greatest generation, healthcare is doctor driven. That fits with their “direct me” mindset. Boomers want to debate and talk things over with their physician. (This means more work for the docs.) This shift in expectations was a major change for physicians. Another change is that Boomers research options and refer themselves to specialists. This was not typically the case with the Greatest generation. For Gen X, the reputation of the organization matters – as does physician expertise. They are also more prone to switch providers than prior generations. The Millennials have a different vision of and experience with healthcare. For them, primary care means a nurse, physician assistant and pharmacist (maybe a Minute Clinic) – a dramatic shift from the old view of the family doctor.
This was a terrific session. If you’d like to be connected with the presenters, I’d be glad to put you in touch with them.