Even as they focus their efforts on engagement efforts that answer the needs of younger healthcare consumers, practice managers should remember that the Baby Boomer generation is now beginning to require more healthcare services. This population segment brings its own set of habits and preferences to the relationship with health providers.
Marketing to Seniors
Although Boomers are generally healthy and health conscious, their sense of indestructibility is challenged as they begin utilizing healthcare at a higher volume.
This is according to Louis Levitt, MD, an orthopedist and vice president of the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (CAO), in Washington, D.C.:
“The aging process has begun to put them in just a different category,” says Levitt in an interview with PatientEngagementHIT.com. Levitt also points out that this age group has long-standing relationships with providers and are inclined to rely on their doctors for referrals to specialists.
A study published in the journal PLOS One suggests that patients who have more trust in their doctors also have better perceptions of the quality of care they receive, and higher levels of patient satisfaction.
A survey of patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery found that 65 percent of patient satisfaction was attributable to physician empathy. Satisfaction was not affected by appointment wait time, office wait time, time with the surgeon, or other factors surveyed.
In Binary Fountain’s 2018 Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement Survey, 48% of Americans across all age groups reported “a friendly and caring attitude” as the most important factor in choosing a provider. The survey shows that 45% of respondents aged 55 and older rate this quality highest, and 48% of those 55+ place “ability to answer all my questions” at the top of their criteria.
65 percent of respondents age 55 and older report that online rating and review sites have influenced their decision when choosing a physician.
Now, consider this: Pew Research reports that some 73 percent of U.S. adults ages 50-64 own smartphones. That puts your ratings and reviews directly in the hands of a patient population that highly values trust, empathy and communication.
Earning the trust of an aging patient population
Have a look at your ratings and reviews. If neutral or unfavorable reviews reveal room for improvement in areas like bedside manner, doctor-patient communications or empathy, you have an opportunity to broaden your engagement and appeal with this important demographic segment.
About the Author