the sanitation card or know where the chef was trained
to know you can eat the food without getting food poisoning. The millennials assume that if you’re open and
you’re delivering health care, it’s going to be safe, it’s
going to be high quality and you’re trained to do it. By
and large, they’re right, because health care is one of the
most heavily regulated industries in the United States.
Three factors influence health care choice for the
millennial generation. First and most important is
convenience. Because health care has become a commodity, people need it, but they need it in ways that
integrate it into their lives, not intrude on their lives.
What we are seeing is a dramatic rise in our nation
of urgent care centers, emergency services, and retail
clinics catering to convenience. One retail chain is putting clinics in their stores such that within the next
couple of years, 90 percent of the U.S. population — to
include our Sailors and Marines — will live within 15
minutes of one of those stores with a clinic. That will
change how health care is delivered.
Congress, to say thank you to an all-volunteer
force, is giving our Sailors and Marines more access
than ever before to these civilian health care options.
Navy Medicine will provide you the best care possible
… but you must come to the hospital or clinic to get it.
Why would you do that when you could just go to one
of these retail clinics? Tricare will pay for it, and you
can do it and pick up your dinner on the way home?
This is fundamentally changing how health care is
delivered, and we have got to change with it.
We have a pilot program in Jacksonville, Fla., that
emphasizes providing the right care for patients in
ways that are acceptable to them, which includes the
use of telemedicine and other options. We’re doing
this because if a patient goes to one of those retail
clinics, three things happen. No. 1, we don’t have the
patients our corpsmen need to keep their clinical skills
up. No. 2, we will lose visibility and relevance over the
health of the force. What happens when the CO [com-
manding officer] of a ship calls me and says, “What’s
going on with my Sailor, doc?” and I’ve got to say, “I
don’t know. He’s getting his care at a retail clinic.”
The third thing that happens is their care will
become fragmented. As they get their care from one
retailer today, and a different retailer tomorrow,
another retailer the next day, none of them are con-
nected by a common electronic health record, and
their care becomes fragmented when we need that
The second factor that influences their choice is
experience of care. People want to get their care from
us because we’re wearing the same clothes as them.
But if we don’t make it easy for them and treat them
like we want our loved ones treated, they’re going to
go somewhere else. So, we’re changing the culture of
medical. Treat your patients like you want your family
treated. If we do that, we find they will choose us. It’s
all about the experience of care for them.
The third factor that influences their choice is
technology, because many of them are digital natives.
They grew up with it and they’re comfortable with
it. The vast majority of the Navy today has a smartphone. That smartphone is their No. 1 source of
medical information, not the doctor. The volume of
medical knowledge in the world is doubling every two
years, so you’ve got to refresh that information or it
becomes stale. Apps are being used by our Sailors and
Marines to make very important health-care decisions because they like technology. And, so, we’ve got
to play in this arena.
One of the other things we’re doing is piloting
virtual technologies in Jacksonville. We’re in the
process of streamlining, standardizing and bringing
technology and capabilities to the Internet so people
will choose us instead of all of these other options
they now have.
It is an operational imperative to maintain visibility, relevance, influence and impact over the health
of the force, a force that we need on the job because
every Sailor is critical to their nation. That is our
focus area. Today’s force is more specialized than ever
before, with very different expectations for health care
than we have ever seen. We’ve got to be able to adapt
to that. n
“The nation also gets a lot for [its] investment, not only with full-scope combat casualty
care. We use that force for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and to enhance
and build on partnerships around the world. We have missions that go out every year —
Continuing Promise in the Caribbean and Pacific Partnership — that allow us to build
partnerships with other nations in ways that are not possible otherwise.”