Primary care needs to adapt to, not lose millennials, who tend to skip them already

The healthcare system needs to adapt soon to a new trend, which might become widespread in no time. The 83 million Americans born between 1981 and 1996, otherwise known as millennials, will soon be the nation’s biggest generation, and they don’t like playing by the old rules. They don’t like waiting for things, either.  Medical care has to be quick, available, and accompanied by transparent prices. So, instead of going to a family doctor, as their grandparents and parents did, millennials often choose walk-in clinics over primary care.

According to a 2017 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a Washington think tank, and Greenwald and Associates, 33 percent of millennials did not have a regular doctor.

By comparison, only 15 percent of those age 50 to 64 lacked a primary care physician.

Instead of setting appointments with a family doctor, young people choose urgent care clinics or minute clinics such as the Advocate Clinics at Walgreens. Effects are already easy to spot.

Even though the shortage of primary care physicians is real and growing, as is the case for other specialties, primary care alternatives are ever growing. Millennials, but not only them, can now choose between more than 2,700 retail clinics in the U. S., although most of them are in the South and Midwest, according to Rand Corp. researchers. They also use companies such as myLab Box, Nurx, and 23andMe to acquire birth control, have blood workups and genetic testing testing done, without leaving home.

Rising healthcare costs, fragmentation of care, antibiotics overuse, and the impossibility of such clinics to spot some illnesses or to help patients decide whether they should undergo surgery, for instance, are only a few problems that arise.

Maybe blockchain solutions like the one Embleema found will soon be used to share medical data when young patients move from one place to another, which often happens.

Meanwhile, some primary care facilities understand they have to make changes to attract and keep young adults as patients. Video visits, apps and other digital tools stand out as healthcare trends that ease communication between patients and doctors have already been put in place by some practitioners.

Practices do not have too much time to adapt, so the digital transformation of healthcare needs to happen now, if the soon-to-be largest generation in the United States is to stay healthy.

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