For millennials, a regular visit to the doctor’s office is not a primary concern

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Calvin Brown, a 23-year-old millennial does not have a primary care doctor since he entered the workforce upon his graduation from the University of San Diego. He prefers sourcing for a walk-in clinic occasional times when he is unwell. The whole ‘going to the doctor’ phenomenon is depreciating from the generation as many millennials today prefer convenience, fast service, connectivity and price transparency; as opposed to office-based primary care.

Many young adults are opting for alternatives such as retail clinics found within drugstores or big box retail outlets, free-standing urgent care centers that go into the extended hours and online telemedicine sites that offer virtual visits. In addition, these clinics and telemedicine sites often display their prices.

A 2017 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a Washington think tank, and Greenwald and Associates revealed that 33 percent of millennials did not have a regular doctor as opposed to that of the 15 percent aged 40 to 64. This observed generational shift is more evident among the millennials as they prize convenience and speed in almost every aspect of their lives. This shift can be attributed to the increasing costs and issues of fragmented or unnecessary care, including the misuse of antibiotics. A 2017 survey by the physician search Merritt Hawkins revealed that the average wait time for a new-patient appointment with a primary care doctor in 15 major metropolitan areas is 24 days, an increase from 18.5 days in 2014.  While this demonstrated a lack of physicians, there has also been an observed surge in primary-care alternatives. There are now over 2,700 retail clinics in the United States, mainly in the South and Midwest, according to Rand Corp. researchers.

Therefore, attract and retain patients, particularly the millennials, primary-care practices are adopting new business methods. Besides increase the number of physicians and nurse practitioners, they have also implemented patient portals and other digital tools that allow people to communicate with their doctors and make appointments via smartphones. Some are also looking into leveraging video visits. This is because not all walk-in clinics are equipped to provide holistic care, knowledgeable referrals to specialists or are able to help patients decided what treatment they really need.

Source: Washington Post

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