Millennials are using technology to measure fitness and achieve their own wellness goals at rates far higher than the rest of the adult population.
That should push healthcare marketers to use a stratified approach to engage patients, according to an annual survey from Deloitte.
For all consumers surveyed, 28% used technology for fitness and health this year, up from 17% two years ago, but for millennials, those born after 1980, nearly half were health tech users in 2015, compared with only a quarter in 2013.
Among consumers with what are described as major chronic conditions, tech-based monitoring has jumped from 22% in 2013 to 39% this year.
“There are sort of two camps, the engaged patients camp, and then there's the rest of everybody else,” said Dr. Harry Greenspun, director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.
Camping out with the tech-engaged millennials are a lot of chronically ill patients, Greenspun said.
“Their expectations are growing rapidly,” Greenspun said. “They're in line with how they do online banking and how they do travel and all that stuff.”
But they're often being afforded “traditional healthcare portals that are weak, generally. You see a decline in those using health plan websites. I surmise people are using other sources,” he added.
For members of the disengaged camp, "You've got to find tailored ways to reel them in because they need this information,” Greenspun said.
The healthcare industry needs to use technology to reach folks in both camps, as higher-deductible health plans force patients to spend more money out of their own pockets, the study said. For now, consumers need healthcare tools that combine information about price, quality and service and those aren't there yet, according to the study.
“There have been tools around for a long time around quality,” Greenspun said. “They haven't heavily influenced consumers because they haven't been aligned with quality issues. Getting at prices is incredibly complex, but you'll have more and more people asking these questions.”
Deloitte sampled opinions from 3,616 adults nationwide for the survey.