In this day and age, so much of what traditionally needed to be done in person can not only be done virtually but has become the standard in many cases. Whether it’s school, work, or even just catching up with family and friends, it seems like almost everything we can think of can be done remotely.
Although, as a society we’ve been slowly moving towards having more regular virtual interactions for a while, this phenomenon has been greatly accelerated by the recent pandemic, leading to an increase in the usage of telemedicine specifically. While this represented a monumental shift in how care is delivered, especially for older generations, it was far less of a foreign concept for Generation Z (Gen Z), who were essentially born with a smartphone in hand and have never known life without the internet. Gen Z, which are those born between 1995 and 2012, is expected to account for an estimated 61 million new employees in the global workforce in the next decade, and for them, Telehealth isn’t something they are hoping will just pass with the pandemic.
Hold on, let’s not go that far! There are certainly plenty of instances where a telehealth visit with a doctor just won’t cut it. But, ask your average 18-25-year-old if they have a choice to physically go into a doctor's office or connect with them virtually, which would they choose? Chances are they won’t be so hesitant to take the virtual option. In fact, according to a recent study, 41% of Gen Z would actually prefer receiving their health care consultations digitally rather than in person, by far the most of any generation. At the end of the day, telemedicine provides both patients and providers increased flexibility and efficiency, both of which are coveted highly by Gen Z.
Since they’re already so used to having so many of their daily interactions online, Gen Z tends to hold a much different view about digital data privacy compared to older generations. When it comes to where they find and consume their information, a majority of Gen Z rely on a variety of different sources such as their cell phones, social media, and YouTube channels to stay informed on the subjects of interest to them. Most of these platforms require their users to share their personal information online, which is one of the main reasons why Gen Z feels more comfortable providing their data over the Internet. Because of this, many of the individuals from the younger generation seem to be much more willing to share their personal health information online compared to older generations if there is a clear benefit to them. With the increase in social distancing measures due to the pandemic and the ability to fit their consultation within their busy school schedules, the younger generation feels much more comfortable using telemedicine because it suits their personal lifestyles better.
At the end of the day, Gen Z value having access to everything they need right at their fingertips. By making it easier for them to seek medical advice through telemedicine, we can encourage more Gen-Zers to feel comfortable speaking up whenever they’re dealing with any health-related issues and encourage them to meet with medical professionals regularly. Even though more serious procedures may still require them to visit a doctor in person, there’s still a benefit in giving them the option to have their initial conversations virtually. Ultimately, it’ll be able to make their lives easier and make it more convenient for them to seek medical attention when needed.