Women, millennials are healthcare communications' change agents

Lynn O'Connor Vos, CEO of Grey Health Group told the Medical Marketing & Media Transforming Healthcare conference that medical communicators are going to have to change to adapt to Millennials and the growing decision-making clout of women.

Lynn O’Connor Vos, CEO of Grey Health Group
Lynn O’Connor Vos, CEO of Grey Health Group

NEW YORK: Healthcare communicators are confronting a rapidly changing market due to how consumers, providers, and platforms are changing. Millennials are looking for simpler and more transparent healthcare, startup technology companies are making access more immediate, and women are making the most of their healthcare decisions.

Lynn O’Connor Vos, CEO of Grey Health Group, spoke about the new health consumer at the second annual Medical Marketing & Media Transforming Healthcare conference on Thursday.

Vos focused on the influence of millennials on the healthcare industry and the increasing role of women making healthcare decisions.

Millennials want to do everything from their smartphones, including seeing a doctor, she noted. Several health startups that target the generation, such as Oscar, use online and mobile appointments to attract them.

"Many Millennials will not go to a doctor if they’re not willing to do email," Vos said. "There’s a lot of pressure on physicians to change and become more relevant to the new consumer."

Another challenge is communicating effectively to the consumer, and that group is largely made up of women, called the "chief health officers" by Vos.

"For health and wellness, women are the lynchpin," she said. "They make 94% of decisions for themselves and 59% of decisions for others."

Grey Health Group partnered with the Task Force for Talent Innovation to research women’s decision-making habits and trust levels with different levels of healthcare. They found many women have little trust in doctors and physicians.

That’s probably due to the reputation of the healthcare industry as opaque, complicated, and slow, Vos noted. However, the industry will need to change with younger generations, and healthcare communicators must adapt to suit young people and women who are doing most of the decision making, she explained.

"When you really look at what she wants, it’s communications," said Vos. "It’s better communications, more transparent, more immediate, more actionable."

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