Physician Practice

Millennials look outside the box for care

Physician Practice Insider, December 13, 2016

Several new studies find that millennials are more likely to rely on retail health clinics for care than primary care physicians, and they are more prone to base healthcare decisions on cost rather than quality.

The trend is good news for providers that cater to patients who seek care based on convenience, but bad news for primary care providers, who could see a generation of consumers migrate to new sources for care. However, it remains to be seen whether the trends being demonstrated by millennials in their 20s and 30s will persist as they grow older.

A recent survey conducted by FAIR Health, a non-profit research firm that specializes in gathering health data, found that more than 50% of millennials don’t have primary care doctors and rely instead on retail clinics, urgent care centers, and even emergency departments for primary care. And a similar survey of millennials conducted by PNC Healthcare found that millennials see their primary care providers when they have a health problem only 61% of the time, compared to 80% of the time for baby boomers.

“Those care providers [retail clinics and urgent care centers] are convenient, and often they provide exactly the care someone needs,” William Curry, MD, associate dean of rural and primary care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a statement. But Curry also touched on the limits of convenient care, noting that “it’s important to realize they cannot take the place of a primary care provider for the screening, prevention, and long-term follow-up care that we all need.”

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the September 2016 issue.

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