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The future of medicine in the age of Millennials

Hospitals, like so many other businesses in the age of the Millennials, are forced to evolve to meet the needs of the generation raised on mobile devices and social networks.

Residents Dr. Neha Sharma and Dr. Tris Arscott look over patient records via a new iPhone app at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. Credit: Charles Mostoller. Residents Dr. Neha Sharma and Dr. Tris Arscott look over patient records via a new iPhone app at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. Credit: Charles Mostoller.

Dr. Stephen K. Klasko wants young people to think about how they receive health care in 2014.

"And then think about everything else they do in their life," said theThomas Jefferson University Hospital president and CEO. "How do they get travel? They don't go over to a travel agency anymore and sit down with somebody, right?"

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Hospitals, like so many other businesses in the age of the Millennials, are forced to evolve to meet the needs of the generation raised on mobile devices and social networks. Health systems are building strategies to serve this technology-centric Millennial generation as it matures and begins to utilize more health services.

"Think about the fact that the Friday after Thanksgiving you can be in your pajamas watching 'Game of Thrones' and do all of your holiday shopping," he added. "But if you get a stomach ache, you still got to call, go through a complicated thing, and then drive into town to get care."

Klasko pointed the demise of video rental giant Blockbuster, which, he said, never made it easier for customers to access the company's collection, whether by a mail-in or a online streaming service.

And big-box consumer electronics stores are losing the battle with online retailers that can offer competitive prices with fast delivery rates.

"I believe the era of come-to-my-hospital … and we'll take care of you will not be tolerated by the younger generations," he said.

Dr. Bill Hanson, chief medical information officerat the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, pointed to his hospital's continued efforts to build its electronic filing system of patient information.

Hanson looks toward the possibilities of the fitness trackers, and the recently announced Apple Watch, and other "wearable devices," which collect information that could be used to paint a more complete picture of a patient's health.

"To be clear, this is something that we're all trying to understand how it works and none of it started at this point," Hanson said. "[But] this is all stuff that's targeted at our entire patient community, but intends to be better adopted by young patients."

Klasko, who has done work with Apple, said the brilliance of the company's late founder Steve Jobs was recognizing in the 2000s that the world would transition into a highly digital age by the 2010s.

"As a healthcare provider I need to make it easier for people to access care," he said. "We will unveil over the next year or so an opportunity for you to put 'Stomache' and get a GPS to a Jefferson doctor."

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

 
 
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