05 Jul Where are Millennials? Not at the Doctor’s Office

Millennials form the nation’s largest generation, composing over 83 million Americans born between 1981 and 1996. According to a recent study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, fewer than two-thirds of millennials have a primary care physician. This is a major shift from Generation X and Baby Boomers, of whom 80-95% have an established PCP.

Millennials are more likely than any previous generation to seek care at urgent care centers and other walk-in clinics. Convenience, speed, connectivity, and cost transparency drive their decisions when seeking medical services.

As the oldest cohort in this generation approaches 40 years of age, a lack of longitudinal care will lead to serious consequences, as they begin to require more specialized medical attention for chronic and serious acute conditions. Their tendency to seek information from “Dr. Google” and online communities can lead to erroneous self-diagnoses, while the fragmentation of care that results from visiting multiple retail clinics delays proper medical treatment.

So what can you do to bring younger patients into your practice?

Consider implementing some technology solutions in order to connect with an online generation:

Online patient portals: A secure online patient portal where patients can simply make and change their appointments, see their test results, request prescription refills will fulfill patients’ desire for more control over their care.

Text reminders: Millennials prefer to avoid phone conversations whenever possible. Prompt patients to make or confirm appointments via text. Using a secure texting platform, you can even provide follow-up with your patients to help them coordinate the next steps on their care journey

Telemedicine: Bridge the gap for patients who can’t—or simply do not want to—make face-to-face appointments by introducing telemedicine appointments. These can be an easy way to ensure that patients are not lost to followup.

Social media: Meet your patients where they are by encouraging them to connect with you on social media. Use these platforms to share key practice updates, success stories or appointment reminders in an easy and organic format.

The long-term benefits of consistent, connected, and coordinated care will lead to better outcomes for your patients and your practice.

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