Millennials Are Turning 40, and Your Practice May Not Be Ready

Jonathan Minson

July 1, 2024

“I’m a man, I’m 40!” exclaimed Mike Gundy, head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It might surprise you that, if he said those famous words today, he would be a Millennial. Millennials are probably older than you think.

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are now entering their 40s. This generation, shaped by the rise of the internet and digital technology, brings with them new expectations and demands, particularly in healthcare. As they become a significant portion of healthcare consumers, practices must adapt to meet their needs or risk being left behind.

And I should know: I am one. I entered adulthood accustomed to digital solutions and having the expectation that healthcare providers offer the same level of convenience and accessibility that I experience in every other area of my life. I’m not alone, either. Millennials value efficiency and have little patience for outdated, time-consuming processes.

Millennials Have Increasing Buying Power

Millennials now hold considerable economic power. According to a recent study, Millennials have a combined spending power of approximately $1.4 trillion annually. They are known for making informed purchasing decisions based on online reviews and social media feedback. As such, they prefer providers with strong digital presences and excellent online ratings. In healthcare, this translates to a preference for practices that offer easy online booking, telehealth options, and comprehensive digital records. They are twice as likely as Boomers to use telemedicine and three times as likely to use wearable technology.

Millennials Have High Digital Expectations

Digital convenience is non-negotiable for Millennials. They expect to manage their healthcare the same way they manage other services: online and on-demand. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend, with telemedicine usage soaring by 3,800% during the peak of COVID-19. Millennials are less likely to have a traditional primary care provider, often opting for more flexible, tech-driven healthcare solutions. A survey showed that only 66% of Millennials have a primary care provider, compared to 78% of Gen X and 85% of Baby Boomers. Practices that fail to offer these digital conveniences will struggle to attract and retain Millennial patients.

The Risk of Falling Behind

Healthcare practices that do not adapt to these digital expectations risk losing Millennial patients to more tech-savvy competitors. This generation's demand for digital solutions is reshaping the healthcare landscape. Practices must integrate telemedicine, online scheduling, and remote monitoring to stay relevant. The consumerization of healthcare, driven by Millennials, represents a fundamental shift in patient expectations. And if you think Millennials are demanding, wait until you see Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

There Is Still Time to Brace for Impact

Fortunately, you still have time to prepare for the wave of Millennials entering the healthcare system, though your window is getting vanishingly small. Healthcare providers must create a consumer-focused front door to attract and retain Millennial patients. Embracing digital solutions not only enhances patient satisfaction but also streamlines operations and ensures long-term viability. Investing in digital transformation is essential for staying competitive in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment.

Millennials are leading the charge towards a more digital, consumer-focused healthcare system. Practices that recognize and adapt to this shift will thrive, while those that do not risk being left behind. The time to act is now.

End Notes

  1. [Khoros Blog on Millennial Buying Habits](
  2. [GfK Blog on Gen Z and Millennial Consumers](
  3. [Three Forces Driving the Consumerization of Healthcare](