How the iGen patient will change the way you use technology at your practice

How the iGen patient will change the way you use technology at your practice

The internet, GenZ or iGen generation is the next wave of consumers who will disrupt every industry from the financial to the retail sector, and healthcare is no exception. Not to be confused with Millennials, the iGen generation were born between 1995 and 2015 and display surprisingly stark contrasts to their millennial predecessors in how they use and expect to use technology in everyday life. The oldest of the iGens are only 23 but according to Forbes* they make up 25% of the population – larger than Baby Boomers and Millennials – and are setting the precedent for consumers in the not-so-distant future. Here’s how you can make sure your practice is iGen compliant.

iGen grew up with a mobile phone

Most iGen consumers got their first mobile phone at the age of 13, whereas most Millennials were 18 before they became mobile. As a result, iGens are obsessed with their phones and use it to replace almost every conceivable transaction between businesses and consumers.  In fact, studies show that 100% of iGens will surf the web looking for goods or services from their mobile device. 100%! Why does it matter? Because if you aren’t searchable online with a mobile-friendly website or listed with a relevant, trusted online directory, they can’t find you and will naturally be less likely to become your patient.

iGen prefers to text over talking

Most generations have succumbed to the decline in voice calls over the last decade and while texting over talking isn’t a trend exclusive to iGen generation, it impacts how you communicate with your patients taking into account their preferences. Do you use SMS to send patient appointment reminders? Are they able to make an appointment with your practice completely online? These are important questions to ask yourself now to make sure you are responding to consumer needs now and in the near future.  

iGen is concerned with privacy and security

It’s easy to assume that being online all the time means that the iGen generation aren’t concerned with the privacy of their information true, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Particularly when it comes to the security of payment information. More than 60% of iGens have concerns about security when using a debit or credit card to make payments and are more comfortable using mobile apps and payment portals for transactions. If your practice only accepts one or two traditional payment methods, it is worth investigating the addition of a service that makes it easy for patients to pay their invoice immediately and securely by mobile phone.

Social media isn’t what it used to be  

While Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin might be the platforms of choice for older generations, iGens prefer Vine, Instagram and Snapchat to share their stories and communicate with their peers. Does that mean you have to rush out to register a Snapchat account? No. But it does offer you the opportunity to get comfortable using social media as a means to open communication with your patients and offering the kind of content that appeals to patients and consumers alike.  

With that in mind, studies also indicate that iGen patients will be more prone to seeking out healthcare relating to their mental health.  We’ve already seen a growing prevalence of mood and stress-related disorders in the last few years and iGens will suffer from depression and anxiety even more than other generations, shaping why and how you treat patients in future.

Ensuring that your practice responds to consumer trends is important in building a lasting, sustainable practice. Taking the first step towards a tech-savvy business can go a long way towards ensuring that you continue to drive patients to your practice.

Get in touch to find out if you are headed in the right direction by emailing: industryinsights@healthbridge.co.za.

*According to Forbes (2015) made up 25% of the U.S. population.

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