Conference Coverage

Consider varying generational needs, preferences in the workplace and with patients



– By 2020, millennials will comprise more than a third of individuals in the workplace, and that has important implications for employment, communication, and education, according to Patrice M. Weiss, MD.

Each generation brings a unique set of experiences and expectations. Millennials – or members of “Generation Y,” who comprised 18% of the workforce in 2018 and 0% in 2008 – tend to prefer flexible work hours and communication via technology, she said during a session on navigating generational differences in the workplace during the annual clinical and scientific meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

They, along with members of “Generation X” (generally those born between 1962 and 1981) and “Generation Z” (generally those born from 1987 on), tend to be technology savvy, whereas the “Silent Generation” (generally those born between 1925 and 1942) and older members of the “Baby Boomer Generation” (generally those born between 1943 and 1961), may prefer printed communication and phone calls, said Dr. Weiss, chief medical officer at the Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va.

“It’s not good, it’s not bad – it’s just the way things are changing,” she said, adding that it’s important to look at the strengths that each generation brings to the workplace.

Importantly, the generational differences also affect patient expectations and therefore should guide physician-patient interactions, she said.

In this video interview, she further discusses how generational differences should be considered in medical practice, and how clinicians can adapt to the changing expectations and different needs of patients from different generations.

“Gen Ys want to communicate with us through technology. They don’t want to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment, they want to be able to go online ... through an app and self-schedule an appointment,” she said. “And they want health care when they want it.

“We as health care providers and health care organizations, we need to meet the needs of each generation ... so what we need to do is really identify what are the needs of all the generations as patients.”

During her presentation, Dr. Weiss further noted that these generational differences present a major challenge with respect to teaching, learning, and communicating.

“Rather than becoming frustrated ... let’s hope that we can ... reach across generations, identify what their strengths are, capitalize on those, and then, as health care providers, be more user and consumer friendly to the generations, particularly the millennials [so] that they have access to us and to information.”

Dr. Weiss said she had no relevant financial disclosures.

Next Article: