Generation Y and Health: The Healthcare Revolution

This post continues our new series on Generation Y and their relationship with their health. From challenges to epidemics, this series attempts to expose how these digital natives are managing health-related issues, both individually and together.

By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)

In my last installment in this series on the Millennial doctor, I mentioned the innovative Dr. Jay Parkinson, dubbed by Fast Company as The Doctor of the Future. The video above is from L2’s Generation Next Forum back in May 2010. In his presentation, Dr. Parkinson listed the specific attributes of Generation Y that influence how we view our healthcare system, both where it’s been & where it’s headed. Here they are:

We’re not used to inefficiencies.
We expect conversation.
We’re collaborators.
We’re socially conscious.
We want value & transparency.
We see the value in sharing.
We want health and happiness.
We’re tinkerers.
We’re creative problem solvers.
We expect design.

Does any of this sound familiar? That’s because it’s not just Generation Y. All generations share some or all of the same requirements from our healthcare system. Don’t we all want an efficient healthcare system that’s honest and transparent, and facilitates open communication among all stakeholders and participants? In the coming years, the industry will soon have to cater to these demands from Generation Y. As Dr. Parkinson says in his presentation:

“Healthcare needs a revolution. And Gen Y will lead this revolution.”

As a new demographic of patients flood the healthcare system, a number of important factors will come into play. For instance, we’re more civic-minded; we care about the well-being of others in addition to our own. We’re also more diverse than previous generations; many of us are multi-racial. Also, we’re not just interested in fixing emergency health problems; we want advice on a more holistic approach to healthy living. So what are the changes that medical institutions need to make in order to cater to these, and other defining characteristics of Generation Y? Here are my Top 3 suggestions for small changes that will have huge impact:

  1. Set up several portals for quick and instant communication, such as Skype and e-mail
  2. Update your technology by doing things like implementing iPad tablets for faster paperwork processing
  3. Be able to recommend reliable sites and sources for us to independently obtain medical information

With that, I wanted to leave you with a few links to some of the tools and services that Dr. Parkinson mentioned in his presentation. Bear in mind, these were not created exclusively by or exclusively for Generation Y. But you can expect to see higher adoption of these high-tech methods for managing our health as Generation Y begins to dominate the patient population.

  • Hello Health, for web-based patient communication, practice management and EHR
  • ZocDoc, to find dentists or doctors and book instantly online
  • Withings, a wi-fi connected scale & blood pressure monitor
  • PatientsLikeMe, to share stories and symptoms with an online patient community

What are you doing to avoid being left behind in in the Healthcare Revolution? Share some applications/portals/gadgets that you’ve created or seen in the comments section below!

Also, check out previous installments from this series:

The Making of the Millennial Doctor
Dealing With Depression



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