By Alan Beberwyck | Posted: March 29, 2013

For starters, they look at online reviews.


Chris is in his early 30s, representing the younger end of the Gen X age range, but he has had experience with health care providers and networks. Here are my four questions and his answers:

  • How do you decide where to go for a medical procedure or tests?
    Chris told me that he generally follows his physician’s recommendations. Only about one-in-five Gen X patients cited physician referrals as the primary influence on their care decisions, and in this characteristic, Chris diverges from the majority of his generation.
  • How would you choose a specialist?
    Chris relies on his primary care physician for referrals to specialists, but also checks reviews and ratings online.
  • Where would you go for health information?
    Chris said his primary care physician was his first resource for health information, but added that he would also go online to learn about care and providers.
  • Do you pay attention to health care advertising?
    Chris told me that he doesn’t pay attention to health care advertising from a consumer perspective, but he does as a health care advertising professional.

While Chris relies on his doctor’s referrals for care, most of Generation X behaves more like consumers than patients when making care decisions. Clearly this is an audience that hospital marketers will need to come to terms with as their health care needs grow. Do you have insights or experiences with Generation X consumers? Share them below.

Alan Beberwyck is content director at Smith & Jones, an advertising and brand strategy agency that specializes in marketing for hospital systems and large physician practices. Learn more here.


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