Gen Z is shaking up healthcare—here’s how to reach them 

Members of Generation Z care about their health, but relying on the same channels and strategies used to connect with older generations isn’t the best way to reach this audience.  

So where-and how-can brands engage with this audience? Phreesia Life Sciences surveyed nearly 4,000 patients checking in for their doctors’ appointments to better understand their perceptions and preferences around receiving healthcare services and content. View the key data insights in this infographic.  

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Gen Z is shaking up healthcare—here’s how to reach them.           

Generation Z, which encompasses those born between 1997 and 2012, is known for being more progressive, more racially and ethnically diverse and better educated than previous generations. With such attributes, it’s no surprise that this group interacts differently with the healthcare system than older patient groups. So, what’s the best way to engage with the newest generation? 

It’s important to meet Gen Z patients where they are—and that’s online, on social media and at the point of care, according to a recent Phreesia survey taken by nearly 4,000 patients as they checked in for doctors’ appointments. Gen Z wants accessible healthcare information from trusted sources—and it’s up to healthcare stakeholders to provide it. 

Gen Z patients see their primary care providers less frequently than previous generations… 

When was the last time you saw your primary care provider?  

Gen Z:  

  • 22%—Within the past month  
  • 34%—1-6 months ago   
  • 17%—6-12 months ago   
  • 14%—Between 1-2 years ago   
  • 12%—More than 2 years ago   

Non-Gen Z:  

  • 26%—Within the past month  
  • 42%—1-6 months ago   
  • 15%—6-12 months ago   
  • 9%—Between 1-2 years ago   
  • 7%—More than 2 years ago  

…and more than half of Gen Z-ers turn to the internet to answer their healthcare questions before they talk to their doctor. 

Between the two sources below, where do you typically go first for information if you have a health- or treatment-related question? 

Gen Z:  

  • 52%—Online sources  
  • 48%—My doctor’s office  

Non-Gen Z:  

  • 43%—Online sources  
  • 57%—My doctor’s office 

Gen Z is omnipresent on social media: Overall, 96% of surveyed Gen Z patients said they actively use social media platforms. In fact, with the exception of Facebook, Gen Z-ers are the most active users on nearly every major social media network. That kind of usage provides an opportunity to use social media to get in front of Gen Z patients, who also are more likely than previous generations to trust the information they see online. 

Which of the following social media platforms are you actively using now? 


  • 71%—Gen Z  
  • 56%—Millennials  
  • 38%—Gen X  
  • 16%—Baby Boomers 


  • 60%—Gen Z  
  • 66%—Millennials  
  • 66%—Gen X  
  • 55%—Baby Boomers 


  • 56%—Gen Z  
  • 28%—Millennials  
  • 16%—Gen X  
  • 4%—Baby Boomers 

X, formerly known as Twitter   

  • 28%—Gen Z  
  • 15%—Millennials  
  • 14%—Gen X  
  • 8%—Baby Boomers 

I am not using any social media platforms   

  • 4%—Gen Z  
  • 10%—Millennials  
  • 17%—Gen X  
  • 33%—Baby Boomers 

But while social media may be integral to their lives, Gen Z patients prefer to get medication information via online search and from their doctors… 

If you want to know more about a medication, where do you typically go for information? 

Gen Z:  

  • 45%—Online search (e.g., Google)  
  • 42%—Doctor’s office  
  • 36%—Pharmacies    
  • 28%—Healthcare-related websites (e.g., WebMD)   
  • 27%—Medication websites  
  • 23%—Family or friends  
  • 5%—Online patient communities    
  • 3%—Social media platforms  

Non-Gen Z:  

  • 46%—Online search (e.g., Google)  
  • 37%—Doctor’s office  
  • 42%—Pharmacies    
  • 32%—Healthcare-related websites (e.g., WebMD)   
  • 28%—Medication websites  
  • 13%—Family or friends  
  • 3%—Online patient communities    
  • 1%—Social media platforms 

And, although Gen Z patients may visit their primary care providers less often than older patients do, their doctor’s office is still one of the first places they go for treatment information. Significantly, Gen Z has a strong preference for in-person appointments, making the point of care a key engagement opportunity. 

Gen Z’s healthcare visit preferences  

  • 92%—Prefer face-to-face healthcare encounters over virtual visits   
  • 37%—Plan to schedule fewer virtual medical appointments in the coming year 

Gen Z-ers also take ongoing initiative to be knowledgeable about their healthcare. This patient group tends to conduct online research before and/or after their doctors’ appointments, with 44% reporting that they do so all or most of the time. 

More good news for brands: Gen Z patients overwhelmingly trust health information from pharma companies (77%), and they’re more likely than any previous generation (64%) to trust information from pharma sources. 

How much do you trust health information from pharmaceutical companies?  

Gen Z:  

  • 9%—Not at all  
  • 14%—Not so much   
  • 46%—Somewhat  
  • 24%—A great deal    
  • 7%—Completely   

Non-Gen Z:  

  • 16%—Not at all  
  • 21%—Not so much   
  • 48%—Somewhat  
  • 13%—A great deal    
  • 3%—Completely   

In summary…  

Successfully reaching Gen Z patients will rely on connecting with them where they’re already looking for information—online, on social media and at the point of care. 

Brands can be resource-ready to meet Gen Z’s quest for healthcare knowledge before and after their doctors’ appointments by leveraging paid search advertising, comprehensive medication websites and channels that can reach them with pre- and post-visit disease education. 

Find out how Phreesia’s digital patient engagement platform can help your organization reach Gen Z patients. 

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