9 things to know about Gen Z and baby boomers in healthcare and the workplace

Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) and baby boomers (those born between 1946 and '64) are at different stages of their lives, so it is no surprise when they behave differently in healthcare and workplace settings. 

Below are nine things to know about the two generations, ​​as compiled from stories Becker's has published about these trends in the last three months:

  1. Gen Z is sparking new social media use among clinicians. Because of Gen Z's preference for digital platforms, more physicians have been getting on board with apps such as TikTok to engage with them on healthcare matters. For example, Austin Chiang, MD, chief social media officer at Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health, created an account on TikTok to teach Gen Z about a range of COVID-19 topics, including vaccinations and CDC guidelines.

  2. Gen Z is especially skilled at recognizing "cringe," or missteps that occur when an older person tries to speak its language. Healthcare marketers are creating strategies to avoid this cringe factor and ensure their brands discard outdated vocabulary or references no longer popular with Gen Z.

  3. Analogies for sorting computer files such as filing cabinets are no longer useful for Gen Z, as this generation stores data in drop boxes and hard drives instead of physical spaces. Social apps such as TikTok and Instagram are pulling from an endless sea of online content rather than a nested hierarchy, which also influences how Gen Zers perceive data storage.

  4. For Gen Z, computers are thought to have an infinite expanse without a physical placement. Many Gen Zers are saving all files, no matter how many, on their desktop without organization.

  5. Twenty-eight percent of Gen Zers report feeling confused after physician appointments, while just 9 percent of baby boomers report the same.

  6. Both Gen Z and baby boomers say the most effective way health information reaches them is through their physician's office. The next two most effective ways are social media and email for Gen Z and direct mail and email for baby boomers.

  7. Sixty-four percent of baby boomers say they are "extremely comfortable" visiting a physician while only 33 percent of Gen Zers say the same.

  8. Fifty-five percent of baby boomers say they heed all their physician's advice while only 43 percent of Gen Zers say the same.

  9. Older Americans use some telehealth programs more than younger people. Patients who belong to Generation X and working age baby boomers are significantly more likely to start a musculoskeletal telehealth program than patients who belong to Generation Z or millennials.

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