Digitally Connected Generation Y Feels Disconnected from Healthcare, Survey Finds

Younger patients in the Digital Age find dealing with their health frustrating, are delaying medical care

May 03, 2012, 08:00 ET from ZocDoc

NEW YORK, May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of ZocDoc - a company dedicated to improving healthcare access - found there is a distinct disconnect between the expectations of the digitally connected Generation Y and the realities of healthcare's current infrastructure.


Harris Interactive polled more than 2,000 adults nationwide regarding their sentiment on healthcare access and found the following among applicable 18 – 34 year olds:

  • 54 percent say they process of dealing with their health is frustrating;
  • 63 percent feel that they are at the mercy of their doctor's or dentist's front desk staff when making an appointment;
  • More than half admit to delay getting medical care because the process is a 'pain.'

Generation Y Not Equipped to Adequately Evaluate Doctors

Generation Y is accustomed to having information available at their fingertips, as this age group makes up only 23% of the population but represents the largest group of smartphone and tablet owners. With much of the healthcare industry plagued with antiquated processes and a lack of transparency or real-time information, this survey illustrates that this generation is feeling a divide between the immediacy and access they have come to expect in all aspects of their lives as compared to what today's healthcare system offers them. Among applicable 18 – 34 year olds:

  • 79 percent said that they can evaluate a new gadget easier that they can a new doctor or dentist;
  • 76 percent said it is easier to find information to help them find a hotel that fits their needs than to help them find a doctor or dentist that fits their needs;
  • 64 percent feel that when choosing a new doctor or dentist, they do not know how to adequately evaluate whether or they fit their specific needs, so it came as no surprise to learn that...
  • 79 percent admitted to picking a doctor or dentist primarily based on whether or not they accept their insurance.

"This study highlights the need for the healthcare space to play technological catch up to other industries," said Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, Assistant Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. "If we are not technologically savvy enough to make healthcare user friendly for our young population, then this generation will be less likely to regularly seek out the preventive care they need and deserve. As a physician, that's incredibly concerning."

Long Wait Times For Doctor Appointments Discouraging Younger Patients

82% of applicable 18-34 year old adults also said that having to wait weeks to get in to see a doctor or dentist is 'unacceptable,' yet this long wait time is unfortunately becoming the norm throughout the country. The average wait time to see a doctor in most cities is approximately three weeks with some cities' wait times averaging up to 70 days. While the country is already experiencing a doctor shortage which is contributing to these long wait times, this problem is poised to become even worse as proposed healthcare reforms stand to introduce 32 million new patients into an already congested system. 

"This study highlights that Generation Y is feeling powerless and frustrated by the current state of healthcare," said ZocDoc COO & Founder Dr. Oliver Kharraz. "As these young, connected patients solidify the health behaviors they'll practice throughout their lives, it's more important than ever to equip and empower them to take control of their own health by offering them more digital and mobile tools, services and information. By finding a way to bridge the gap between Generation Y's expectations and healthcare's inefficiencies, we can help alleviate some of this generation's pain points as we enter into a new era of healthcare." 

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States between April 19th and April 23rd, 2012 among 2,211 adults (aged 18 and over). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About ZocDoc

ZocDoc, founded in 2007, is improving access to healthcare by enabling patients to search for doctors, sort by location and insurance accepted, read verified reviews, and instantly book an appointment online or via the free ZocDoc App for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. There are over 7 million medical appointments available on ZocDoc. More than 1.2 million people use ZocDoc to find a doctor or dentist each month.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

CONTACT:  Jessica Aptman, +1-212-715-8647,