Millennials would rather use clinics and EDs than Primary Care Physicians

The 83 million millennials are turning their backs to primary care providers (PCP) over the convenience, fast service, connectivity and price transparency of clinics or urgent care centers. A national poll of 1,200 randomly selected adults conducted in July by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 26% said they did not have a PCP. There was a pronounced difference among age groups: 45% of 18- to 29-year-olds had no primary-care provider, compared with 28% of those 30 to 49, 18% of those 50 to 64 and 12% age 65 and older.
Waiting several days for an appointment when you’re sick is not super attractive to young people:
  • “These trends are more evident among millennials, but not unique to them. I think people’s expectations have changed,” Harvard professor Ateev Mehrotra told the Washington Post.
  • “Now people say, ‘That’s crazy, why would I wait that long?’” Mehrotra said.

PCPs are supposed to be the people at the center of our care, keeping tabs on patients’ health and helping to coordinate our needs. But if you’re only using the health care system when something is acutely wrong, going to urgent care or a clinic might seem more logical — and more affordable than the emergency room, which used to fill those after-hours needs.

The care may not be as good; in a recent study, half the people treated for a simple cold or flu at an urgent care clinic left with an unnecessary and potentially harmful prescription for antibiotics, compared with just 17% of those treated by a PCP, according to the Washington Post.

(Steve Debenport/iStock)

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