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How to use Birth Preferences as a Health Coach

woman in black and white floral dress standing on white floor
woman in black and white floral dress standing on white floor

Last week, we looked at the tendencies of five U.S. age-specific generations that have been defined. This week, we’ve added preferences and some characteristics related to the healthcare of these generational groups, hoping this will help clinician health coaches enhance their engagement with patients/families and achieve better outcomes as a result!

The GREAT or SILENT Generation (World War II/ The Great Depression/):

  1. 1. Tend to conform
  2. 2. Dedicated
  3. 3. Loyal, Duty first
  4. 4. Polite, Respectful
  5. 5. Private

If you have a parent or grandparent from this generation, you may have found yourself encouraging them when preparing for a Doctor’s office visit that sounds something like this:

  1. 1. “Tell the doctor you don’t like how this medicine makes you feel, and you would like for them to consider something else.” Only to have your elder reply, “He’s the doctor. I’m not going to tell him what to do.”
  2. 2. “Be sure to remind the doctor about what happened that last time you took pain medicine.” Only to have your elder reply, “She knows; she has my medical record.”
  • · It’s not uncommon for this generation to remain quiet during a visit and only answer the questions that are asked of them.
  • · They will likely take recommendations from physicians without question or discussion, even if they have a reminder question list.
  • · Because they are very private, they won’t offer much information unless asked.
  • · They prefer traditional health care.
  • · They trust services that are reliable and will return to those professionals for care.
  • · They’re likely to have several chronic conditions.

The Great/Silent generation is not likely to actively seek health coaching themselves; however, they may find themselves engaged in a health coach conversation by default from staff who work in:

  1. 1. homecare
  2. 2. physician/nurse practitioner offices
  3. 3. health departments/outpatient clinics.
  4. 4. assisted living facilities.
  5. 5. senior citizen centers, and from those who
  6. 6. offer coaching support within places of worship/faith.

The BABY BOOMERS (Prosperity post World War II/VietNam War/Civil Rights):

  1. 1. Competitive
  2. 2. Pays their own way
  3. 3. Lives to work
  4. 4. Team player
  5. 5. Prefers personal interaction
  • · Because they are team players at work, this generation is the one most likely to seek out the services of a health coach.
  • · They rely more on word of mouth and seek opinions of friends and family first.
  • · They choose healthcare professionals based on reputation and high quality.
  • · They have high expectations of healthcare providers and aren’t afraid to demand it.
  • · Sixty percent have chronic conditions (1),(2).

The GEN X’ers (Challenger Disaster/Jonestown suicide/Corporate layoffs):

  1. 1. Challengers of status quo
  2. 2. Self-reliant
  3. 3. Skeptical of institutions/leaders who know less
  4. 4. Works to live
  5. 5. Results-oriented, not how
  • · Due to their self-reliance, they review information from many sources prior to making healthcare decisions.
  • · They want options of after-hours and weekend options for care.
  • · Ohio State University research identified a notable decline in the overall physical and mental health of this generation with more drinking, drug use, and smoking(3).
  • · This generation has higher reported incidences of anxiety and depression(3).

The MILLENNIALS (Surfing TV Channels/Involved in multiple sports/Continual reinforcement ):

  1. 1. Open-minded/Self-confident
  2. 2. Wants immediate results/action
  3. 3. Wants rationale
  4. 4. Achiever/Process not that critical
  5. 5. Tech pioneers
  • · They prefer searching online to compare options and determine what’s best.
  • · Price transparency is important to them.
  • · They have low use of inpatient and outpatient services, preferring high deductible health plans.
  • · They are the lowest users of traditional healthcare.
  • · Online virtual healthcare visits are a preference(1),(3).

The Gen Z’ers(4) (World unrest/Tech explosion/Diverse family structures):

  1. 1. Avid Gamers
  2. 2. Ever messaging; all forms
  3. 3. Diverse
  4. 4. Shrewd consumers
  5. 5. “Loneliest” generation
  • · They expect the use of digital tools.
  • · They want the option of easy scheduling and on-demand virtual visits.
  • · Electronic forms of payment is their preference.
  • · They generally seek their parents’ advice when making healthcare decisions.
  • · They like wearable healthcare devices and easy access to their healthcare data(1),(2).

Tendencies and preferences about healthcare among these “birth generation” populations can give a provider/clinician health coach a better overall sense of what to offer in the way of coaching services, pricing, expectations, and accessibility, as well as different strategies for marketing!

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