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The primary care preferences of millennials

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Millennials comprise the group of people born in the last twenty years of the twentieth century. Although specific birth years vary from one generational expert to another, millennials were born between about 1981 and the turn of the century. There are about 83 million millennials in the US. This group of people has grown up immersed in technology, with a completely different view of the world than their Generation X or Boomer parents. Moving from job to job, from city to city, is not unusual for this group. They look for expediency, convenience, and immediate rewards.

Millennials also have a different view of medical care than the older generations. While a Boomer may develop a long-lasting relationship with a primary care physician, a 2017 survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a Washington think tank, and Greenwald and Associates found that 33 percent of millennials did not have a primary care physician. In that same survey, the researchers found that only 15 percent of those age 50 to 64 did not have a regular doctor.

Speed and convenience are the primary concerns for millennials, particularly in regard to how they access healthcare. In fact, these trends are being seen in other age groups as well. As internist Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, noted in a recent Washington Post article, “Younger patients are unwilling to wait a few days to see a doctor for an acute problem, a situation that used to be routine.”

Millennials also want connectivity. Primary care physicians who offer the ability to communicate electronically, to access telehealth services, and to make appointments online or through an app will be more attractive to that busy age group. Those appointments also need to be speedy and on time. A millennial typically wants to be seen the same day or the next day and does not want to be kept waiting when the appointment time arrives.

Millennials prefer the convenient access of an urgent care or even an emergency room for their healthcare services. Primary care physicians such as Mott Blair, a family physician in Wallace, N.C., are adjusting to their patients’ preferences, including reaching out to millennials who need the holistic and consistent healthcare that is not typically available at urgent care centers.