How Millennials Will Change the Healthcare Industry

This year, the “Millennial†generation is projected to surpass the outsized Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation. These demographic trends are a major source of opportunity for entrepreneurs, including physician entrepreneurs, who have the skill to pursue them.

I recently attended an event in an area of Denver, named as #1 on a list of best cities to live, which was a former warehouse district that now has been redeveloped as an innovation district, filled with bars, coworking spaces, sports venues, creatives, hoodies, hotels with funny names and lots of startup people. The rankings were based on quality of life, schools, availability of sick care and job opportunities, and a fudge factor for where people wanted to live. They did not include hook-up potential or recreational drugs, but I think that has something to do with it too. They left out parking availability.

I did not notice a lot of boomers like me in the crowd, and based on demographic trends, that should come as no surprise since, "hot" Downtown Denver does not seem to have the same appeal as the 'burbs for the over 50 crowd. Unless, of course, you live on "CEO row."

Boomers have unimaginably influenced and shaped the US economy by their attitudes and buying behaviors. The results have touched every sector ranging from real estate, gourmet coffee, and retail brokerages to health clubs. The latest manifestation is the “aging in place” movement.

This year, the “Millennial” generation is projected to surpass the outsized Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the population projections released by the US Census Bureau. Millennials (whom we define as between ages 18 to 34 in 2015) are projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers (ages 51 to 69). The Gen X population (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028.

These demographic trends are a major source of opportunity for entrepreneurs, including physician entrepreneurs, who have the skill to pursue them. No one can predict the next fad, trend, movement, or zeitgeist, but there might be some clues and themes:

1. Disintermediation of third parties that don't add substantial value and new business models

2. Enhanced experience over owning things

3. Flexibility in choices

4. Products and services that provide a lot of positive feedback and participation. Barnes & Noble announced they will be opening some new concept stores, in part attributed to an uptick in the sales of adult coloring books.

5. Triple bottom line products and services that respect not just the patient and profits, but the planet as well

6. Sharing, not buying

7. Not paying for minutes or space you don't use. Mini-everything from phones to apartments to co-working spaces to tiny homes. There is a lot of student debt and wage stagnation, remember. Rent, don't buy. Share, don't rent. Barter, don't share. Borrow, don't barter.

8. DIY anything, as long as it is simple and you don't have to wash the bowl after you use it, like cereal.

9. Anything that will make you feel good and give you lots of attaboys

10. Faster and on-time is better than cheaper or better

The sick care industry should pay attention. The snake that ate the boomer rat now looks like a dumb bell as the Millennials work their way through too. They taste different and you don't have to wash the bowl.