Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 06 Baby Boomers 1

35% of baby boomers have switched doctors (including dentists) in the past two years

June 20, 2017
Solutionreach survey of 2,000-plus patients finds lack of convenience and low satisfaction present huge financial risk to doctors, and this includes dentists.

Twenty percent of baby boomer patients are somewhat likely to change physicians, including dentists, in the next few years, following findings that 35% have already switched in the last two years, according to results of a Solutionreach survey recently released. When paired with Morgan Stanley estimates that boomers account for two to three times more health care spending than that of millennials, the financial risk for practices is significant.

Solutionreach, a leader in patient relationship management, conducted the "Patient-Provider Relationship Study: The Ripple Effect Starts with Boomers," which examines patient-provider communication dynamics across generations. Findings show that all generations, from boomers to millennials, want more convenient and effective communication options. Currently, 20% of boomers, 44% of gen Xers, and 42% of millennials are likely to switch practices unless they get it.

According to the study, patients are feeling less connected to their doctors once they leave their offices. Providers may lose patients, and associated revenue, if they can’t meet modern-day expectations, such as text messaging and online communication, especially as patients take more control of their own health care. Practice logistics such as wait times, office and staff interactions, communication, and difficulties in making appointments are prompting patients to change providers.

“The Solutionreach survey shows that practice leaders and physicians need to better tailor how they communicate with all patients,” said Josh Weiner, chief operating officer of Solutionreach. “The good news is that across generations, patients want to have more meaningful, convenient, and efficient experiences with their doctors, evidenced by over half of boomers, 60%-plus of gen X, and 70%-plus of millennials wanting online, email, and text communication options.”

As the largest current-day consumers of health care, boomer survey respondents expressed a desire for various technology conveniences much like younger generations. Boomers are open to new ways of communicating for improved experience.

The boomer desire for more convenient communication, such as text, email, and online, is echoed by the younger gen X and millennial generations. In fact, over 70% of gen Xers and 87% of millennials would prefer texts for things like appointment reminders and treatment follow-up. This ripple effect will grow as these generations increase their use of health care, especially since millennials currently represent about 25% of the population and are slated to pass boomers as the largest U.S. generation.

“Connecting doctors and their patients in more convenient and effective ways is essential to better patient care and healthier practices,” said Jim Higgins, chief executive officer of Solutionreach. “Convenient communication isn’t just a millennial expectation, but one that’s important to older generations, too. Practices that change how they communicate with patients will be better equipped to protect and grow their practice in the future.”