The March of Dimes effort to reduce or eliminate elective deliveries and C-sections has led to thousands of women not having major unnecessary surgery and babies who would have required NICU care who instead had a superior birthing experience. This might be the single most meaningful accomplishment ever for the March of Dimes. We should all say: “Thank You, March of Dimes!”
Every generation brings something special to the table for the hospital and healthcare space. Millennials are influencing healthcare with a new lexicon – which is beginning to impact the expectations of systems designed to care for patients, caregivers and the diverse demands of their lives and families – while healthcare organizations are still being largely led by the Baby Boomer generation and their expectations, methods and processes and terms we’ve dragged along from the 70s and 80s. A huge consideration must be these two groups, Gen-X, millennials and soon to be Gen-Z are both our childbearing universe and the source of our staff and emerging leaders.
Maternal/child leaders should be rewarding what they want done when it comes to breastfeeding. That is the general comment I’ve heard in conversation but when I drill down, I don’t get many ready answers on what those rewards should be for staff, physicians, or patients.
I’d like to first suggest a great program which has been shared in an article posted by the not-for-profit Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint highlighting a program from Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. They call their program: Snuggle and Snooze which focuses on supporting the mother/infant bonding experience with major emphasis on breastfeeding. By placing all the attention on this single event, effectively they have made all other activities lower in priority. It is simple, focused, and what I would call elegant; in contrast to the many competing priorities of the department and drawing a distinction to the disease and trauma mission of the hospital.
Snuggle and Snooze time at Blessing Hospital Link
Millennials are oftentimes pinned as being too dependent; however, as many Gen Y’ers know, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Jeff Fromm, EVP of advertising agency Barkley and co-author of “Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever,” says it best: “Millennials are often inaccurately portrayed through the prism of youth and all the character traits that go along with it—narcissism, rebellion and entitlement to name a few.”
In actuality, millennials are a quickly maturing group. In fact, they’re starting families earlier than ever before, with research showing that now is the best time to reach out to millennial mothers-to-be. For instance, a new study commissioned by Barkley shows that among the older half of millennials (those aged 25-34) there are over 10 million households with children. And with millennials representing 80 percent of the nation’s four million annual births, the number of new millennial parents is slated to continue rapid expansion in adding children over the next decade.
Research also shows that this age group has stopped looking for advice and information from traditional marketing avenues during this critical time of their lives. According to an Experian Simmons Study, already 32 percent of millennials don’t like advertising in general which is a number certain to rise, compared to 37 percent of the general population. Conversely, 95 percent of millennials say that friends are the most credible source of product information, according to a recent SocialChorus survey. While Word of Mouth is a dominant information stream, this group also aggressively pursues information online.
There are two lessons to be learned from these stats for labor and delivery operations managers and women’s service line leaders. The first: this generation steers clear of traditional advertising peppered with pushy messages – they want information that is sophisticated, understandable and yet personal to them. The second: they trust their peers and the power of word-of-mouth over any form of advertising any day.
Women’s health leaders may find themselves overwhelmed with the thought of adapting to these preferred means of communication. Nevertheless, this exciting shift must start with the leaders in this service area.
It’s time for women’s health leaders to make this case. The question is now how this can be done. In our next post, we’ll provide some answers to this question, as well as touch upon how this applies to Gen X mothers.
The most important new customer a hospital will ever have is a first time mom, especially millennial expectant mothers. This isn’t a trauma and it isn’t a disease. It is a baby that is making an entrance. Yet, for hospitals trying to partner with patients in their health and wellness goals, this is a major opportunity. That’s because millennial moms are most actively looking to establish a relationship with the hospital they choose to give birth at; they’re looking for more information during this critical time of their life and the life of their child. In fact, research conducted by global PR firm Weber Shandwick shows that millennial moms are more likely than all others to share information about goods and services and turn to both online and offline sources to do so.