Healthcare for Generation Z

I googled if I was a millennial and as it turns out, I am (born in 1982)! Ergo, I’m going to have to get more fluent in social media. And finally stop using a paper calendar (maybe)!

In order to move healthcare forward into the 20’s, 30’s and beyond, I want to create a forward-thinking patient experience at (my new biz) Atlantic Family Health. I’ve been thinking a lot about what Generation Z (a quarter of the US population!) will be looking for in healthcare.

My guess is TONS of information; people are increasingly VERY informed health consumers. I am seeing (in Maine) many people who are well-versed in a variety of health topics. People are getting their health and wellness needs met WITHOUT a family doctor guiding them; think: yoga, reiki, coaching, nutritionists, counselors, chiropractic care…I’m drawn to collaborating with wellness-focused businesses because these services can be so beneficial to health!

Primary care should be a positive self-care service like having a facial or getting a massage! Many people spend lots of time and energy on improving their health through things like supplements, essential oils, acupuncture, massage, recreational activities… but people do not necessarily see these services as related to the guidance of their family doctor. Many doctors actually scoff at patients engaging in the wellness industry! EVEN if the patient tells them X, Y or Z seems to be greatly improving their health!!

Do you think there is a disconnect between the wellness industry and the typical/traditional primary care/family doctor?

Generation Z (and Millennials) are more skeptical of the medical establishment. If a doctor scoffs at a patient’s health beliefs/desires/behaviors (especially those outside the realm of pharmacological treatment), or can’t answer questions about non-medication based alternatives, the patient is more likely to lose respect for that doctor and proceed with their own path to health! Long waiting room times, scheduling by phone, and 9-5, M-F hours for a doctor’s offices are passé.

Using social media to promote a business is very new to me. I met with Holly Martzial, of Mindwell Marketing and am so excited about her advice to pare down my rhetoric to market my business effectively. For one thing, she’d probably tell me not to use syntax like “pare down my rhetoric” on social media. Ha! Brevity is king when it comes to social media. Bright colors and 2-5 words are a better guarantee people will look at your advertising than very long-winded explanations of health theories. I tend towards rambling/long-winded musings over short punchy copy so meeting with Martzial was a wise decision! It was an invigorating–but also calming–meeting, given Martzial is a very talented yoga instructor. She writes,

“I want to travel everywhere, live in ten different places at once, I have 100 different career paths I want to take, you get my drift… Yoga has taught me how to be present. It has taught me to be grateful for the here and the now. It has taught me to sit still. It has taught me that when things are challenging, rather than run away on to the next, stay, breathe, and learn.”

She is writing in relation to yoga, but this approach is perfect for marketing. I tend to cast a wide net: Surfing? Raising chickens? Wildlife photography? Sign me up! While it is great to have diverse interests and being open to trying new things, when it comes to growing a business the mission needs to be targeted and clear. And when marketing your business, casting a wide net—e.g. “I can help anyone improve their health!”—may actually be disadvantageous. Creating messages that are more personalized; (e.g. “I can help your teen struggling with anxiety with a non-medication based approach.”) makes it more likely that people will engage. This tactic makes perfect sense in the context of healthcare, where treatment should always be individualized!

Martzial has a clever knack for asking the questions EVERYONE will ask you about your business. She compelled me to identify my mission, beliefs and target audience in a way that is accessible to modern health consumers.

After meeting Martzial I felt so much more focused and at ease about my marketing/branding efforts. I also revamped my website to include online booking, and people can call AND text with questions/to schedule appointments (or send an email or even send messages through social media!). A business should have MULTIPLE ways for people to engage!

Martzial’s advice is so clear cut with easy to implement tips and tricks. Here is an excerpt from her Instagram:

Is your content building connections?

Is your network growing? Not just digitally, but also in real life?

If you are interested in building your business locally, think about using your platforms to make meaningful connections.

a few examples:

      • connect with a target client or like-minded business on Instagram, then send a DM and ask to meet for coffee
      • be social on social media: leave relevant comments + start two way conversations
      • plan an in-person event and use your platforms to spread the word
      • share real + relatable content, then connect individually with the people who engage

I have tried all of her tips and have been meeting so many awesome people/businesses in the Portland area. Even if you are not running a business, her guidance is also applicable for maintaining digital health; one aspect of which is using technology to enhance/make connections with people (in person).

I have this exciting opportunity to grow the ideal family health practice. I know this content is a bit off-topic for Spy Garden, but any feedback you have on these subjects is welcomed!

What changes do you anticipate in the future of healthcare?

And also, I’ll repeat the other question I posed earlier: What do you think about the relationship between the wellness industry and the typical/traditional primary care doctor?

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me!



10 thoughts on “Healthcare for Generation Z

  1. Pingback: January 2020; Happy New Year! | Spy Garden

  2. Chelsea J.

    Omg. If you could bridge the gap between primary care and wellness practitioners you could open yourself up to an entirely new pool of patients.

    I’ve shirked primary care since I was about 18, mostly because my experiences when I was younger and chronically ill (by means of which they could never figure out and I had to discover on my own). If there were more primary care doctors that thought like you, the health field would be a much more cohesive, patient driven place.

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Yesss!!! This is my plan! Thank you so much for the feedback/comments. I’m so grateful to have met you/look forward to following your path in healthcare to inform my own. :)

  3. The Naturarian

    Healthcare wise:
    I’m a GenXer, and throughout my life, I feel many folks are strictly relying on the DR to tell them what’s wrong. I think that’s crazy.
    Just FYI, I’m a horticulturist, and understand the process of diagnosis for disease. So, I get that it’s hard sometimes… However, I’ve had many diagnosis go undetected by DR and had to figure it out myself. That’s discerning, IMO.
    However, really… How can you expect a DR to know something in a 15 min appt? By running a bunch of expensive tests 😔 I get it.
    Another big whammy I found out about is DRs getting paid by pharmaceutical companies to write their RX out, rather than other meds. There was a TEDX talk about that. Being transparent. There is a website Dr’s can sign up at that tells folks what drug companies they are affiliated with.
    I don’t expect my DR to know everything. I take care of my natural self, she does the drugs & tests.
    Marketing wise:
    I’m opening a therapeutic garden business and working with others to get a brand and focus on this type of landscape design only.
    It’s an interesting process!
    The fav part so far is creating my perfect customer. It’s really interesting to find that my consumer is probably 30 years my JR or 20 my senior! Which either makes social media the best way to advertise or not at all.

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      On Healthcare:
      GenXers (and Baby Boomers/earlier generations) definitely view doctors differently! I think the idea of a patient going to a doctor thinking/saying “Fix me!” (or even “tell me what’s wrong”) is changing. Doctors are just people, who certainly do not have all the answers. And I always tell patients “YOU are the EXPERT ON YOU!” One thing that really gets me fired up is when I hear patients say, “well the doctor says nothing is wrong”; EVEN WHEN the patient has low back pain, fatigue, or any other combo of unpleasant symptoms; sounds like something wrong to me!!!
      To your point, a doctor CAN NOT build a relationship and guide a person to achieve deep and meaningful health in 15 minute increments! I could certainly treat strep throat or some other minor things in 15 minutes time but I am committed to spending the time to get to know patients, which really takes about an hour, especially for the first appointment (an hour of actual face to face time!) and unfortunately insurance companies do not support this. You can draw as many expensive labs as you want, I still think spending the time to actually get to know a person is going to provide a richer, more meaningful clinical picture. I’ve decided to do an all-cash practice and not even deal with insurance companies for this (and other) reasons.
      On Marketing:
      Congrats to you for starting your own business! Therapeutic gardening is WONDERFUL and your business is so needed. I have done gardening with patients and it is so rewarding (for all parties!). I actually hope to have an educational garden/farm that I somehow integrate into my practice. I will definitely check out your site.
      It is SUCH an interesting process to figure out your “perfect customer”! On this blog and in my personal life I often seem to connect with people about 20 years older than me (and my husband was born in 65) but in my clinical practice I am marketing more toward my own age group (and GenZ!) so the social media is definitely a must!
      Thank you so much for commenting!!

  4. g

    I think primary care professionals will be needed to help steer patients to follow the life paths they choose with well studied medical information. We are taking in so much health info every day and many times have no idea what this info is based on or if it’s tested properly. I hope my doctor will let me know if what I’m doing to remain healthy is helpful and tell me if there’s something new that might help. Always emphasizing nutrition, activity and mental and social health first.

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Yes, your point about helping steer patients on the paths THEY CHOOSE is so important! Everyone’s path to health is going to be different and doctors should be able to provide the most applicable information/guidance based on each patient’s unique thoughts/beliefs. There is a TON of research out there (much of it funded by the pharmaceutical industry) and also information that is NOT research or science-based! My training/education continually emphasized that nutrition/movement/mental/social health should always be addressed FIRST! And while many practitioners only give lip service to these areas of health, I’ve found that the more seriously I take these topics and address them with patients, the more seriously patients view these factors! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts/commenting!!

  5. Eliza Waters

    I definitely think most western docs are ‘trained’ not ‘educated,’ with Big Pharma paying for too much of the curriculum in med. schools. There is plenty to prove that money is steering healthcare in less than optimal ways for the patient. It is complex and I don’t profess to have the answers, but I do believe we each must take responsibility for keeping our health tiptop to avoid dis-ease in the body. Junk food, sugar and white flour/rice are detrimental, but so pervasive and addictive to small people esp. Educating folks to make wise and responsible choices in food and exercise, as well as curbing digital exposure (so hard!) results in better all-around health. I’ve chosen that path all my adult life and seeing peers fall ill or worse from making bad choices over decades only reinforces that belief. I’m glad you are integrating alternatives into your practice – so awesome!

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Thank you for this thoughtful reply. The idea of “trained” v. “educated” is a great/interesting point! I agree with your sentiments about Big Pharma and have found that patients have SUCH BETTER OUTCOMES when they are engaged in a non-pharmacological approach to health that, as you mentioned; relies on the patient taking responsibility for their daily choices. Sugar is addictive to all humans (certainly including the smallest and most vulnerable humans:) and the food industry/sugar is right up there with Big Pharma in the “don’t get me started” list of topics:). I was really fortunate to train with (or rather learn with:) many integrative providers while doing my clinicals and their approaches were all non-medication based. Its crazy how the most basic, common-sense approach to health (diet, exercise, fresh air, social, spiritual health) is now considered ALTERNATIVE in healthcare! I am hopeful that the growing wellness industry will pressure providers to put the “alternatives” back into healthcare! Thanks again for the comments!


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