The Impact of Generation Z on Healthcare
As Gen Z begins their adult lives, they are turning the healthcare industry on its head. They are accustomed to on-demand services, and they expect their health benefits to match this same model.
Home health providers are stepping up to meet this need. By documenting social determinants of health (SDoH) through Z-codes, they can help their patients overcome barriers to treatment.
Generation Z, born between 1996 and 2010, represents a new cohort of consumers who expect the healthcare industry to meet their unique needs. Healthcare workers need to be knowledgeable about this emerging generation, especially as their healthcare needs change over time.
This demographic is tech-savvy and comfortable using digital tools to manage their health, from online personality tests to dating apps. They are also open-minded about mental illness and seek help when needed. Gen Z demands a different workplace culture, social initiatives, and technological approaches.
These differences are shaped by their experiences, with many growing up in a world of climate doom, pandemic lockdowns, and financial crises. They are pessimistic about the future, with US Gen Zers reporting the lowest level of optimism and the highest levels of mental illness compared to their European counterparts. Their behavior is driven by anxiety, which has led them to seek out information from a variety of sources—but they are twice as likely to turn to social media for medical advice.
Millennials are entering the workforce in droves, and their impact on z healthcare will be significant. Their unique needs and expectations will reshape the industry.
They’re vocal about their mental health concerns and seek healthcare providers that take a holistic approach to wellness. They also value transparency and accessibility to information. Providing mental health support in addition to physical care will increase their satisfaction and improve outcomes.
They’re also more likely to Google their symptoms and use social media for medical advice. For home-based care providers, this means providing accurate, up-to-date medical information online that’s easy to access. Additionally, they’re more interested in home-based care services that incorporate the latest technologies.
Gen Z has no concept of rotary phones, never waits in line at the deli and doesn’t even know what a cathode ray tube was–even though it inspired YouTube. This generation has a very different outlook on life and are likely to shake up the global healthcare industry with their unique approach to wellbeing.
They’re comfortable with digital health mainstays like telemedicine and wearable health devices, preferring providers that offer online scheduling and payments. They also place a high value on existing patient testimonials and informational materials to help them make decisions about their health.
Having grown up in an environment of economic uncertainty, they are more aware of the impact of socioeconomic conditions on one’s well-being than previous generations. They’re concerned about climate change and want the federal government to pursue policies that reduce carbon emissions. They also value whole-person wellness and are open-minded about alternative treatment options. For this reason, healthcare providers must offer more holistic wellness options to appeal to Gen Z.
Gen Z is all about making a difference in the world, and healthcare careers are a natural fit. However, the industry’s current burnout climate and lack of onboarding processes are causing many new recruits to feel overwhelmed, rushed, or underprepared to do their jobs well.
Millennials and Gen Z are incredibly savvy researchers and demand a seamless end-to-end experience. They are more likely than older generations to research specialists on the internet and prefer online appointment scheduling over calling. Having the tools they need to navigate the health system is vital to establishing trust and loyalty pre- and post-visit.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) approval of Z codes – encounter reason codes documenting social determinants of health (SDOH) – is an exciting opportunity for home health providers to demonstrate their value. As the only care providers who see patients in their homes, they have unique access to SDOH data and can play a critical role in helping address the nation’s health disparities.