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Millennials in Medicine: What Do Younger Doctors Want?

June 7, 2018

Paperless Medical Office

The “Millennial” generation, usually defined as those born between 1982 and 1997 (or 1980 through 1994, depending on who you ask) is currently the youngest age group to take its place in the working world, behind their “Gen-X” parents and older siblings, who in turn are right behind the aging Baby Boomers (which currently make up the majority of physicians in the process of retiring or already retired, hence the need for younger replacements.)

Sometimes criticized as being “job hoppers,” (a 2016 Gallup report showed 21 percent of millennials changed jobs in the previous year), most millennials nevertheless are a hardworking, ambitious yet surprisingly thrifty bunch. Perhaps more so than previous generations, millennials have set clear boundaries in their lives defining work and personal time while having clearly-defined income and career goals.

Here are several top qualities younger doctors often bring to the table as well as a bit of advice for practices looking to add some new blood (pun intended) to the practice or health organization. Given that the U.S. is facing a shortage of physicians – projected to be down by as much as 20,000 by 2020 – it seems only logical to make entering a medical career as promising and attractive as possible for newcomers stepping up take the places of those leaving.

They are tech-savvy and welcome incorporating technology into their practice

Millennials in medicine are more comfortable than Boomers communicating via social media and smartphones as well as other technologies. They eagerly adopt the newest technologies that improve care while increasing productivity such as EHR and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, tending to see the benefits in the long run over short-term implementation hurdles. Bringing them on board with the technological implementation process is one excellent way to engage them, helping them commit to excellence in care.
When it comes to job hunting, however, nearly half of their numbers still turn to tried-and-true methods of networking and referrals, rather than with social media or smartphones.

They want to offer high quality care in a team-oriented setting

For these reasons, they will try to seek forward-thinking workplaces that offer technological innovation enhancing patient care outcomes. They also need a sense of community within their workplace, enabling them to turn to more experienced colleagues for performance feedback, evaluation, recognition and communication.

Workplace culture matters

Younger providers no longer want to be at the mercy of an over scheduled practice, but seek more flexibility in scheduling as well as a more employee-centric approach from employers.  Not surprisingly, a majority of 53 percent say that having a positive work-life balance would be a deciding factor for staying at a job.  They also want to work for an organization that recognizes and appreciates their efforts and achievements, permitting faster advancement.

Men and women have differing work needs and priorities

This was true of the previous generations, with not that much having changed. Both genders want good benefits and a less-stressful work environment, but for women, good work-life balance seems to edge out other factors, while men are usually motivated more by financial considerations. Women also report struggling for workplace respect, equal pay and recognition, but as more enter medicine, this situation should improve.

Compensation is the main reason for leaving a job

Job satisfaction ranks ahead of income – but only slightly. Given the substantial amount of student debt usually carried by 74 percent of newly-minted MDs, with more than 44 percent owing over $200,000, it’s no surprise that compensation ranks high on the millennials’ must-have list. Although compensation may not be the main reason most new doctors remain on the job, neither do they wish to spend any more time than necessary getting out from underneath student debt.

They crave work/life balance

This follows closely behind compensation issues as a top reason why young doctors leave a job. Keeping these younger physicians on the payroll means some limits to on-call time with more flexibility in scheduling. Family and personal time is considered so important by millennials that they might be willing to trade off higher pay for more flex-time. Millennials report not being willing to put in 60-hour weeks if it precludes spending more quality time with their families or pursuing other outside interests.

They gravitate toward group healthcare rather than solo practices

Younger doctors are trending away from forming independent solo practices in favor of larger group practices or health systems offering less hassle setting up as well as the potential for more security, better compensation and career advancement. The majority of younger physicians (68 percent) say that they prefer to be employees instead of independent contractors. Likewise, they are not very interested in taking over an existing practice if it means that almost all of their waking hours will be consumed with managerial and other business details above and beyond providing care.

The right partners can help reduce practice stressors

As millennials become older and their outlook matures, they will probably come to realize, as did the baby boomer and previous generations, that advancing in a medical career requires time. On the other hand, finding a better balance of work and personal life may sharply reduce the current dilemma of physician burnout many doctors are facing from the stresses of being over-burdened and over-scheduled with work and practice management concerns.

One way to reduce those stressors is to partner with an experienced medical billing and practice management service.  M-Scribe has been helping practices of all specialties and sizes, from solo practitioners to larger group organizations to successfully increase revenues by improving revenue cycle management while ensuring compliance with government and payer regulations.
Even if you don’t have tech-savvy millennials on your staff (yet) we can remove much of the guesswork from EHR, medical coding and billing, leaving you and your staff to do what you do best: provide top level care for your patients.  Contact M-Scribe at 770-666-0470 or email for a confidential, free analysis of your individual practice’s needs and goals.


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