September 22, 2023

Economic Backbone

Health care & millennials


According to “Money matters: Billing and Payment for a New Health Economy,” a new report from PwC’s Health Research Institute, millennials want to use mobile and computer technologies to quickly review their bills and pay them — in the same way they pay electric or cable bills or shop for products online. Unfortunately, they are finding U.S. health care lags other industries when it comes to digital payments and payment communications.

Campus Trends: More Services, Different Problems

Decades ago most colleges and universities maintained health centers to treat the sick and injured. Today, student health centers have to meet the demands of a generation that expects a full range of services.

On an ordinary day in Gainesville, students stream into the Student Health Care Center at the University of Florida. They may be coming to get a flu shot or to get an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection. They may be coming to be seen for a scooter injury, for a sports injury or to be screened or treated for sexually transmitted diseases.

Guy Nicolette, director of the UF Student Health Center, says the increase in students who are active in intramural or weekend sports has led to more injuries and more staffing of sports medicine professionals at university health centers. Instead of just using X-rays when students come in, the university also uses ultrasound more often to evaluate bone, joint and muscle injuries, Nicolette says. “The students want us to use the latest technology.”

Mental Health

From 2008 to 2013, Florida universities reported their enrollments grew by 13%, but their counseling centers saw a 48% increase in the number of clients and a 67% jump in therapy sessions. The most common complaints were depression, anxiety and academic-related stress.

According to a survey by the American College Health Association, one in six college students nationally has been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety within the last year, which has surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students.

In response to understaffing, the State University System’s board of governors has made a $20-million request to improve staffing at counseling centers and police departments.


Nationwide, nearly half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) diagnosed each year are among people ages 15 to 24. Guy Nicolette, director of the UF Student Health Center, says the university has responded to the nationwide concern and launched a free Get Yourself Tested Initiative through the Alachua County Health Department for students who don’t have any STD symptoms. “We fill all the time slots every week,” he says.

Wellness as a Recruitment Tool

How do you transition your company’s workforce into one that attracts millennials?

Smart City Telecom in Lake Buena Vista discovered that a corporate wellness program is one way. Three years ago, the company, which provides telecom services to Walt Disney World Resort and Celebration, opened an on-site fitness facility, where it also offers weekly yoga classes. In addition, the company brought in a personal fitness consultant to work one-on-one with its employees at no cost to them. The company also has a team that trains for 5k runs during lunch. “We have just under 100 employees and about 65% participation in our Get Fit program,” says Tracie Wilczynski, human resources director at Smart City Telecom.

The majority of the company’s employees are long-tenured, with more than half over age 50. “People are retiring, and there’s a natural succession going on,” Wilczynski says. She has found the wellness programs help recruit millennials. “From an HR perspective, our robust fitness program is definitely a key selling point,” she says.

Marketing to Millennials

Tech-Savvy Patients

When millennials come for a consultation with Dr. Carlos Lavernia, a Miami orthopedic surgeon and director of the Center for Advanced Orthopedics at Larkin Hospital, he sees a pattern. “They want to know if you’re using technology to make an operation safer and better.”

Lavernia, whose specialty includes hip and knee replacements, uses MAKOplasty, a robotic arm that allows for more accurate implant placement, shorter hospital stays, quicker rehabilitation and a smaller scar.

In February, Lavernia will offer patients full knee replacements using a more advanced roboticassisted surgery he helped develop with millennials in mind. Where doctors are performing roboticassisted surgery with imaging as their guide, the new procedure will allow surgeons to use 3-D technology to achieve a new level of precision. “It will change the face of knee replacement,” he says.

While most of Lavernia’s patients are older, he finds an increasing demand from the younger set. “Millennials have started to exercise a lot earlier, and they do not always do proper training. A lot of them are hurting themselves,” he says.

Like Lavernia, sports medicine physician Jason Pirozzolo, with Orlando Hand Surgery Associates, understands how important using the latest medical techniques is to his young patients. He also realizes the significance of using digital marketing to reach millennials.

Pirozzolo, 38, who is on the board of governors of the Florida Medical Association, uses a combination of platforms to reach potential young patients — Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, for example. Pirozzolo’s practice also uses a “geo fence” to track publicly posted social media conversations and lure business. For example, if someone in downtown Orlando sends a tweet saying his shoulder hurts, Pirozzolo uses a program that sends a reply: “If you need help with your shoulder, give us a call, we have an opening today.”

Because his specialty is sports medicine, Pirozzolo says that embracing technology is critical to attract younger, athletic patients. “Most physicians are acknowledging that marketing on social media is where health care is going. But there’s a difference between acknowledging it and making that change.”

Tags: Healthcare, Technology/Innovation, Economic Backbone

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