Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Millennial caregivers go beyond social media in healthcare — it is about providing more robust and integrated ways to engage with and care for their patients.

Millennial caregivers, born between 1981 and 1996, are an understudied caregiver group. Millenials became the largest group of caregivers during the pandemic.  Their experiences of stress-related consequences of caregiving are unique in their developmental stage and generational norms. Their love for dynamic, real-time, interactive digital experiences is changing how healthcare organizations reach their patients, take care of them, and earn their patients’ loyalty.

In an age of immediate, personalized interactions, building communications channels that reflect millennial caregivers will shape how the healthcare industry makes its future, influencing how offerings and opportunities evolve. 

Here are three (3) identified impacts of social media on millennial caregivers while keeping digital-first healthcare solutions on the cutting edge of quality and compliance.

            Millennial Caregiver Put in the Healthcare Homework. One of the healthcare trends shaping the industry’s future is how millennial caregivers use their digital resources to educate themselves about their patients before they talk to and care for them. That is social media in healthcare at work, but the conversation grows even louder when healthcare organizations enter the picture. Digital natives are already profoundly impacting healthcare, and millennial caregivers are on the leading edge of this change.

            Digital Natives Expect Speedy Solutions and DIY Options. Digital solutions are increasingly cloud-based, and with the cloud comes the agility of unified communications. This is important in healthcare, an industry in which dynamic, flexible, and speedy person-to-person contact is critical to patient outcomes. 

Unified communications solutions can extend far beyond the more familiar elements, such as automated routing that reduces patient wait time. For example, the patient may benefit from an impromptu telehealth session. In this case, a voice call can evolve into a video conference from whatever device is in play. Millennial caregivers, even other Healthcare professionals, can take the session further if necessary, instantly bringing in a second opinion or a companion consultation with the ease of a click, tap, or swipe.

Patient engagement strategies are changing: The digital world is increasingly a self-serve ecosystem, and healthcare is no exception. Take appointment scheduling and records management, for example. People nowadays want self-service options that let them skip phone queues, do not expect to spend time on hold, and do not want to fill out paper forms repeatedly. Unified communications can satisfy these patients, creating on-screen billing access, pre-visit and symptom-input tools, and do-it-yourself scheduling.

            Personalization: Rich Relationships Run on Data. Data in the digital space is on everybody’s mind, and when it is put to nuanced, permissions-based uses, patient data helps physicians build insight-rich relationships. Millennial caregivers expect conversational commerce. This means more than relying upon data to prompt appointment reminder texts. It is about deeper lines of two-way communication that bring a patient’s history and a physician’s records together in private, selective, compassionate ways that link every visit — in-person or not — to the spectrum of care the patient has experienced.

Social Media in Caregiving: Embracing the Digital Future

Digital caregivers are already profoundly impacting healthcare, and millennial caregivers are on the leading edge of this change. Embracing the future of healthcare means the start of a vibrant and healthy digital conversation for every caregiver and patient.

One must think of the “millennial caregiver” not as a monolithic figure but as a series of persons with diverse backgrounds, needs, and cultural sensitivities. Millennial caregivers have distinctive contexts that impact their caregiving needs. Caregiving interventions must consider these needs.

One way of embracing the future of caregiving is by reading books based on real-life experiences. Eleanor Gaccetta, in her One Caregiver’s Journey, you will feel like you are in the author’s living room, and Ellie is telling her story and offering great advice and information. Talking about a caregiver’s blueprint! This personal memoir will make you laugh or tug at your heart as the author shares her experiences providing 24/7 care to her mother for 9 ½ years until her mother’s death at age 102. The book is an easy read, honestly written, and provides suggestions and information that all caregivers can utilize. The author wrote the book over nearly a decade of caregiving, and it is a snapshot of the reality of the stages, changes, and many challenges caregivers face over time.  

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