According to the 2010 census, 37% of adults aged 18-24 did not visit a provider within the calendar year. In a more recent survey of 2,000 adults, surveyors found that more than 90% of millennials (ages 22-37) also avoided going to the doctor. In contrast, according to the census, 92% of Americans aged 65+ visited a physician at least once during the year. This sharp dichotomy is evidence of our current healthcare system to incentivize the young and working class to check-up on their health.
Going to a doctor is not only a challenge for young people, but also for those working full time. With wait times, few available appointments, and no weekend availability, a visit to a provider can take up a large chunk of the day. While retirees may have the time, an office visit for a patient in the workforce essentially translates to a whole day missing work, and thus, a day without pay. This makes going to a doctor a difficult decision, especially for young people and also those in unfavorable socio-economic standing.
If a doctor is not bringing in a younger patient population consistently, they are subject to a steady decrease in their patient population. A provider with a largely elderly population will consistently lose patients as time goes on and as patients succumb to their complications.Therefore, if a physician hopes to maintain or grow their patient population, they must find some way to get younger patients into the door.
Doctor’s have an opportunity to attract young and working patients with a commitment to telehealth and telemedicine services. Without a strong adherence to integrating technology into an office, providers will scare off millennials and working professionals seeking care. Young people want up-to-date technology in their healthcare for the same reasons with any other service: efficiency and accessibility.
Specifically, telehealth and telemedicine gives patients more options with their healthcare services. For instance, instead of drugging back to an office for a lab result visit, or medication refill, patients can schedule a follow-up using a telemedicine platform. Telemedicine also can incorporate off-hours calls a doctor receives, creating a billable interaction that a doctor was often doing for free. Additionally, telemedicine offers a wider time frame for appointments, which usually happen after a physician’s normal hours. Instead of skipping a day of work, patients can meet with their doctor via a secured, live streaming telemedicine platform after work, from the comfort and privacy of their own home.
A doctor with reliable telehealth services can attract younger and working people with a visit that will be able to work with their busy schedules. Although healthcare is vital, young people are disinterested with all the hassle that encompasses a doctors visit. Telehealth and telemedicine can make a visit more accessible, and can help grow a practice’s population with young and working patients.
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2010 U.S. Census
Survey conducted by Zocdoc