News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Understanding Gen Z’s Approach to Healthcare Helps Clinical Laboratories Learn How to Better Meet Their Needs

Healthcare providers of all types will benefit from acknowledging Gen Z’s preference for digital interactions, self-testing, and over-the-counter medications

Each generation has its own unique connection to how it manages its health, and the latest studies into the healthcare habits of Generation Z (aka, Gen Z or Zoomers) are providing valuable insight that savvy clinical laboratory managers and pathologists—in fact all healthcare providers—can use to better serve their Gen Z patients.

According to McKinsey and Company, Gen Z’s “identity has been shaped by the digital age, climate anxiety, a shifting financial landscape, and COVID-19.” And Pew Research states that Zoomers “are also digital natives who have little or no memory of the world as it existed before smartphones.”

As the largest demographic, “Gen Z stands 2.6 billion members strong. … Globally, they hold purchasing power of more than $500 billion and mobile buying power of $143 billion,” wrote Stacy Rapacon, Managing Editor at Senior Executive Media, in an article she penned for HP’s The Garage.

Meeting Gen Zers’ healthcare needs on their terms would seem to be a judicious choice.

Bernhard Schroeder

“Gen-Z’s buying power may exceed $3 trillion,” wrote Bernhard Schroeder (above), a clinical lecturer on integrated/online marketing at San Diego State University, in Forbes. “Their spending ability exceeds the gross domestic product of all but about 25 of the world’s countries.” Thus, it behooves healthcare leaders, including clinical laboratory managers and pathologists, to consider how best to approach treating Gen Z patients. (Photo copyright: San Diego State University.)

Gen Z Leads in Digital Healthcare Use, Self-testing, OTC Drugs

“Gen Z engages in every type of digital healthcare activity more than other generations,” a recent study by PYMNTS noted. A total of 2,735 consumers were surveyed, and though all reported using digital healthcare to some degree, Gen Z stood out.

Patient portal access was the highest digital method accessed by Zoomers (62%), followed by telemedicine appointment usage (55%), the PYMNTS report found.

Knowing the direction Gen Z is trending may lead clinical laboratory leaders to expect self-testing to be on the rise, and that hunch would be correct. “There are two converging trends; the rise of women’s health technology and increased use of at-home sample collection for diagnosis tests,” Clinical Lab Products reported.

“Ongoing innovation in these areas could significantly improve the accessibility of women’s health testing. It will also have repercussions for labs, potentially changing the way samples are received and processed, and the way results are distributed. The quantity and quality of samples may be impacted, too. It’s important for labs to be aware of likely developments so they can prepare, and potentially collaborate with the health technology companies driving change,” CLP noted.

Another area feeling the impact of Gen Z’s healthcare spending is the over-the-counter (OTC) drug market.

“Since the pandemic began, more Americans are paying closer attention to their symptoms and looking for easily accessible information about over-the-counter medications, especially for allergies, coughs, and headaches,” said Kim Castro, Editor and Chief Content Officer for US News and World Report, in a press release.

Zoomers Want Healthcare on Their Own Terms

Gen Z grew up with the internet, Amazon, Netflix, Google, and social media since birth.

“The ‘norm’ they experienced as children was a world that operated at speed, scale, and scope. They developed an early facility with powerful digital tools that allowed them to be self-reliant as well as collaborative,” anthropologist Roberta Katz, PhD, a senior research scholar at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) told Stanford News.

As digital natives, Gen Z can be more science and data driven and yet still expect to find health advice on YouTube or TikTok. According to an article published by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, “Gen Z is the first generation to grow up surrounded by digital devices, and they expect their health benefits to be digital, too. From choosing a benefits package to finding a provider, Gen Z wants to take care of their health on their own terms. And that may just include video chatting with a doctor from the back of an Uber.”

In its 2022 US Digital Health Survey, research firm Insider Intelligence found that “Half of Gen Z adults turn to social media platforms for health-related purposes, either all the time or often.”

“Gen-Z will make up 31% of the world’s population by 2021 and they have deeply formed perceptions and beliefs … This has led to an amazing change in the way Gen-Z is disrupting several industries simultaneously,” wrote Bernhard Schroeder (above), a clinical lecturer on integrated/online marketing at San Diego State University, in Forbes.

What Can Clinical Laboratories Learn from These Findings

Gen Z seeks accuracy and trustworthy information. “Gen-Zers’ natural penchant for skepticism and frugality—coupled with low levels of confidence in the US healthcare system—makes them less likely to trust providers, more likely to research prices before seeking care, and more apt to worry that their health insurance won’t cover their treatment,” Insider Intelligence noted.

According to Contract Pharma, “Gen Z is concerned with holistic health and self-care, rather than a one size fits all pharmaceutical approach. They share a hesitancy for traditional healthcare models but with very interesting differences. By understanding these differences, the consumer healthcare industry can focus on agile and distinctive brands to harness Gen Z’s tremendous purchasing power.”

Savvy clinical laboratory leaders can better serve their Gen-Z client physicians and patients by better understanding why Zoomers are more inclined to order their own lab tests (without a physician), collect their own specimens to send into labs, and/or collect their own specimens to do home testing (think COVID-19 self-test kits). Zoomers may need an entirely new business model from their healthcare providers, including clinical laboratories.

Kristin Althea O’Connor

Related Information:

What is Gen Z?

On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know about Gen Z So Far

How Gen Z is Redefining Their World through Technology

Gen Z Is ‘Generation Digital Health’ as 62% Use Digital Patient Portals

What Self-Sampling for Women’s Health Testing Means for Labs

US News Top Recommended Over-the-Counter Health Products

Gen Z Are Not ‘Coddled.’ They Are Highly Collaborative, Self-Reliant and Pragmatic, According to New Stanford-Affiliated Research

Who is Gen Z and How Are They Shaping the Future of Health Benefits?

Generation Z: Transforming Consumer Healthcare

Gen Z’s Take on Healthcare

US Generation Z Healthcare Behaviors

Executive War College on Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Management Returns in November with Emphasis on New Clinical and Financial Opportunities

Following a nearly two-year disruption due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals once again have an opportunity to gather and learn from each other

It is good news that the daily number of new cases of COVID-19 continue declining here in the United States. That fact, and the growing number of vaccinations, have encouraged state and federal officials to lift many restrictions on business and social activities.

Clinical laboratories are watching a big drop in the daily number of COVID-19 tests they perform, even as routine test volumes climb and more patients show up in doctors’ offices for the typical mix of ailments and health conditions.

It’s true that many familiar routines are back. But it is also true that things are not exactly the way they were pre-pandemic. And that’s the rub. Going forward, what should medical laboratory managers and pathologists expect to be the “post-pandemic normal” in how patients access care and how providers deliver clinical services? How will healthcare in this country be different from what it was pre-pandemic?

Preparing Clinical Lab Leaders for What Comes Next

These questions and more will be front and center when the Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management returns on Nov. 2-3, 2021, at the Hyatt Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio. The theme of this first live gathering since the spring of 2019 will be “Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success.”

“Today, lab managers have the interesting challenge of understanding the new opportunities they can use to advance their labs, both clinically and financially,” stated Robert L. Michel, Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily and its sister publication The Dark Report, and founder of the Executive War College. “It isn’t that the pandemic changed healthcare in fundamental ways. Rather, it is that the pandemic accelerated changes that were underway before the outbreak began.

“That’s true of telehealth as well, for example,” he continued. “Once the nation was locked down, utilization of virtual physician visits and telehealth services skyrocketed. Today, national surveys confirm that as many as 50% of all patients and physicians have used a telehealth service, are comfortable with this type of appointment, and are ready to continue to use virtual office visits.

Robert Michel

Robert Michel (above), Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily, its sister publication The Dark Report, and founder of The Dark Intelligence Group, will host the first live edition of the Executive War College since May 2019 in San Antonio. The theme will be “Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success.” Attendees from clinical laboratories and pathology groups will gain critical insights they can act on immediately. (Photo copyright: The Dark Report.)

“Another trend accelerated by the pandemic is patient self-testing at home,” Michel added. “Government health officials saw the benefit of clearing for clinical use different specimen collection systems and COVID-19 test methods designed for use by consumers in the comfort of their home. Today, consumers can choose from multiple specimen collection products and SARS-CoV-2 tests designed for in-home use. Clinical laboratory managers should consider this development to be a consumer home-test baseline. Federal officials have created a regulatory pathway that will make it easier and faster for federal regulators to clear other types of diagnostic tests for consumer home use.”

What if the FDA Approves More Consumer At-Home Tests?

There are implications to each of the two trends described above. In the case of telehealth, if patients see their doctors virtually and the doctors order medical tests, how do clinical laboratories access these patients to collect the specimens needed to do this testing?

Similarly, if, in coming years, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increases the number of diagnostic test specimen-collection kits that consumers can use from home, how should local clinical laboratories position themselves to receive those kits and perform those tests?

These are two examples of important questions to be answered at sessions scheduled for the Executive War College in San Antonio on Nov. 2-3. Case studies by innovative lab leaders will address topics ranging from high-level strategy to daily management, operations, marketing, and managed care contracting.

Attendance Limited at This Fall’s Executive War College

At the first live edition of the Executive War College since May 2019, attendees will notice one significant difference from earlier years. By design, and for the safety and well-being of attendees, the number of attendees will be limited to 300. The hotel follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and is prepared to adjust those numbers as CDC guidance evolves. Thus, those interested in attending this year’s conference are advised to register early to guarantee their place and avoid being disappointed.

Suggestions for session topics and speakers are welcome and can be sent to Conference details, session topics, and speakers will be updated regularly at

So, register today because seating is limited at the 2021 Executive War College Presents “Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success.” To ensure your place at this valuable conference, click HERE or place this URL ( into your browser.

—Michael McBride

Related Information

Executive War College Presents: Preparing Your Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Group for Post-Pandemic Success

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