Millennials – the age group born between 1982 and 2000 – have overtaken the baby boomers as the world’s largest living adult generation. They also represent the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce – and they’re a force to be reckoned with.
They bring vastly different opinions and expectations to the workplace than the age groups preceding them. They are used to having information at their fingertips and demand simplicity, convenience and speed.
Case in point: Kaiser Family Foundation reported that fewer than half of millennials have a primary care doctor, opting instead to Google their symptoms or visit a minute clinic when they’re sick. When it comes to their health care, the generation of DoorDash, Uber and on-demand everything prioritizes speed and convenience over routine visits with a PCP.
COVID-19 Reinforces These Attitudes
A study out of Stanford reported that a whopping 42% of the U.S. labor force was working from home full-time following the initial COVID-19 outbreak. This gave employees across all age groups considerably more control and flexibility over when and how they do their jobs and manage personal matters. It’s no surprise they want flexibility with their healthcare, too.
Meanwhile, Jeffries reported that the pandemic doubled the number of people who have used telehealth, from 39.4% pre-COVID-19 to 79.5% post-quarantine. Now, virtual care has become a preferred solution for accessing care. This is especially true among millennials.
The Demand for Virtual Primary Care
A 2017 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute/Greenwald & Associates showed that millennials rate virtual care as “extremely or very important” to their choice of medical provider. That was three years before COVID-19 – but it took a pandemic to put telehealth into the spotlight and modernize the way Americans access healthcare.
Now, there’s no going back.
Indeed, telehealth’s scope is expanding dramatically. Virtual primary care is the solution’s next and most important evolution. It’s even faster and more convenient than so-called minute clinics at a fraction of the cost. Not only is it a safe way to access care amid COVID-19, virtual primary care also provides all the benefits of in-person primary care – from preventive services to chronic disease management – while checking all of the boxes that millennials value most.
Perhaps most important, the data indicate that virtual care quality and patient outcomes are just as good as (if not better than) in-person care.
The High Costs of Turnover
Considering the staggering costs of attrition, employee retention has bubbled up as a top priority for companies nationwide. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs an average of six-to-nine months’ salary. For someone earning $50,000 a year, that’s $25,000-$37,500 in recruiting and training expenses.
Gallup reports that millennials, in particular, are prone to job-hopping, which creates an expensive liability for their employers.
In other words, employers must do all they can to keep their staff happy at work. Since employees consistently rank healthcare as the most important benefit at work, companies must ensure their health plan meets the needs and expectations of their workforce. And for millennials, that means offering a robust virtual care program.
A Bonus for Employers
The great news is that giving millennials exactly what they want from their healthcare provides benefits to employers, too. Beyond improving retention, telehealth saves money while boosting productivity and employee satisfaction:
In a time when U.S. healthcare costs are skyrocketing, telehealth enables employers to offer a high-value option for medical care – without a high price tag. A telehealth appointment averages about $40, compared to $146 for a doctor’s office visit and $1,734 for the emergency room. Employers save money on every visit.
Moreover, with regular primary care, providers can identify health problems early on and intervene before serious and costly issues arise. Since the oldest millennials are now entering middle age, now is exactly the right time for them to start seeing a doctor routinely. PCPs also play a central role in the management of patients with chronic conditions, improving outcomes while also mitigating health expenditures.
Telehealth saves an average of 45 minutes in transportation and waiting room time, so employees can get healthy and get back to work quickly. But more than that, a healthy workforce is integral to a healthy bottom line. Employees who can’t easily access healthcare – or can’t take the time off work to drive to a doctor’s office or clinic – may come to work sick. This means reduced productivity and presenteeism along with the risk of spreading the illness to other employees, all of which impact the bottom line.
Beyond all of the standard benefits of primary care, MeMD’s Virtual Primary Care solution builds in a variety of other important health services, including 24/7 urgent care for minor illnesses and injuries, men’s and women’s health for sensitive issues like sexual health and hair loss, and behavioral healthcare, now more important than ever amid skyrocketing mental health concerns.
For millennials, the opportunity to access all of these services from a computer or smartphone is not just a “nice to have,” it’s a “must-do” – and it’s key to satisfaction at work.
Virtual primary care is a win-win for everyone. Learn more about MeMD’s telehealth solutions.