By 2030, the U.S. population is set to exceed 355 million people – a 6% jump from today’s 333 million.1 During this time, the healthcare space is expected to see major shifts in generational trends, ultimately leading to modifications in care delivery and service line prioritization.
Learn which generations are expected to impact hospitals the most in the coming years and how your hospital can prepare to meet the opportunity.
As the majority of the baby boomer population begins to age into Medicare rolls, hospitals are shifting their priorities to fit the needs of upcoming generations, such as Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z. However, these generations are substantially smaller and come with a new wave of challenges, including heightened chronic conditions as well as having access to a wider variety of care options.
Trends to look for in this generational shift include:1
- Aging out of Baby Boomers
As most of the baby boomer population becomes Medicare eligible, surgical services within a hospital will become less of a priority for providers. However, this does not mean baby boomers no longer require critical care services. Between the continued growth of life expectancy and baby boomers being among the largest generations in U.S. history, the need for geriatric care is more important than ever.
Prioritizing this form of care not only helps hospitals remain financially stable by continuing to treat the oldest patient population, but it sets up future generations for a comprehensive care journey as they too go through the aging process.
- Steady incline of Gen X requiring surgical services and additional chronic care
Although surgical services will see a drastic decline following the aging out of baby boomers, Gen X will still require this form of care - just at a slower pace. This is due in part to the smaller population size, however, prioritizing chronic care plans for this generation will offer significant benefit to a hospital as research shows Gen X has and will continue to have more chronic and complex illnesses compared to baby boomers.
Specifically, when comparing Gen Xers in 2018 to same aged baby boomers in 1998, prevalence of chronic disease for the Gen X population has risen across nearly all conditions.
- Opportunities to meet Millennials and Gen Z at the digital front door
Looking at younger generations, they too will begin to exhibit more chronic and critical conditions as they age, the only difference is the way they chose to approach their care. This can already be seen as only 57% of millennials have a regular primary care provider today.
Additionally, as the digital world continues to infiltrate the healthcare space, Millennial and Gen Z consumers will have more access to care solutions, whether it be telehealth or online specialty services, these two generations have the education and cost awareness to select the care setting best equipped to take on their needs and the needs of their loved ones. Prioritizing digital healthcare can play a critical role in not only maintaining future patient volumes, but it will also prove beneficial in care delivery optimization and overall patient satisfaction.
For years, the baby boomer generation has set the standard for how healthcare is delivered, but as generational shifts continue across the nation that will no longer be the case.
Hospitals who are prepared to take on these shifts – whether it be through service line integration, bringing in an experienced partner for support of existing services, or both – have a higher likelihood of reducing care costs, improving efficiency and enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes across generations.
Contact us today to learn how a joint-venture or contract management partnership with Lifepoint can help your hospital address these shifts and achieve optimal outcomes long-term.
- Advisory Board. (2022, July). Generational shifts in health care. Advisory Board. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from https://www.advisory.com/Topics/Strategic-and-Business-Planning/2021/07/Generational-Shifts-in-Health-Care