Millennials Do Not Favor Social Media For Personal Healthcare Communication

While social media has a strong and growing role in healthcare communications among peer communities of patients, a national Capstrat-Public Policy Polling survey finds Americans still turn to traditional lines of communication when they need specific health consultation from their own doctor.

More than five of every six respondents – 84 percent – said they would not use social media or instant messaging channels for medical communication if their doctors offered it. Even among Millennials (18 to 29 years old), an age group that seems ripe for electronic health communication, only 21 percent said they would take advantage of an online forum if offered.

However, this doesn’t mean the use of all digital communication is out of the question for patient-provider interaction. Respondents were more favorable toward email and online channels when used for appointment setting, medical record access, and nurse consultation.

The survey found different attitudes along certain demographic lines. Hispanics said they were more comfortable interacting with their doctors online: 89 percent would take advantage of email if their doctors offered it; 89 percent would set appointments online; 78 percent would participate in online bill payment; and 89 percent would call a nurse help line. In fact, the nurse help line was the preferred form of communication across all demographic and age cohorts. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they would take advantage of a nurse help line if it was offered by their doctor.

“It appears consumers are willing to move administrative experiences such as bill payment and records access online, but when it comes to conferring with their healthcare providers, people still prefer more traditional communications,” says Capstrat President, Karen Albritton. “The implications include a way for doctors to free up more time for their patients by moving the right interactions online, and an opportunity to forge stronger connections through personal interaction.”

To view complete survey results, visit

About Capstrat

Capstrat, a communications agency based in Raleigh, N.C., solves the complex issues that healthcare, technology, energy/infrastructure and financial organizations face at critical moments. We blend marketing communications, interactive communications, public relations and public affairs to tell stories with power and persuasion.

About Public Policy Polling

Public Policy Polling has conducted regional and national surveys since 1991. The firm employs Interactive Voice Response or IVR methodology. Just as polling evolved from mail-in surveys and door-to-door interviewers to live telephone interviewers, the polling industry is evolving into automated telephone surveys (IVR) and Internet polling. An analysis by the Wall Street Journal of swing state polls in the 2008 presidential campaign concluded that Public Policy Polling was among the two most accurate survey firms.