Blog | Monday, October 24, 2011

Patients have generations, too.

Surely you've read before (perhaps even in our publication) about the challenges of Boomers and younger generations working together. You know the drill-- these young'uns are good with computers but they're all hung up on this idea that they should get to have a life. But Cam Marston, the opening speaker at MGMA put a new spin on the concept-- addressing how generational differences can affect the way that you attract, and treat, patients.

A lot of it is pretty obvious. Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) like getting information by text, Boomers not so much. Younger patients do a lot more of their own internet research.

But some of the advice on how to act on these generations' well-known differences was useful. To get the attention of those self-absorbed Generation X and Millennial patients (yes, it is sometimes an embarrassment to be part of this group), talk to them about how things will affect them individually in the future. And offer information, but share decisionmaking with them-- unlike their parents, they're not going to accept pronouncements from on high (I totally plead guilty to that one).

The good news is that if they like you, they'll update their Facebook status and all of their friends will become your patients too. "Their word of mouth referrals to each other are golden," Marston said. "They're more likely to trust a friend's Facebook post on a stock buy than an investment expert."