Millennials not going to the doctor (apps don’t replace physicians)

  • A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey and followup analysis by Kaiser Health News found that 26% of 1,200 respondents said they didn’t have a go-to primary care physician.
  • Nearly half (45%) of 18-to-29-year-olds said they didn’t have a primary care doctor.
  • Millennials tend to want to have access to care right away, they want it immediately and they want to be able to see a doctor quickly. 

Millennials who don’t have a primary care physician are gambling with their health. They’re missing recommended health exams, like blood pressure, eye, IBS and digestives, mental health and annual check-ups which could help diagnose early symptoms of chronic or more serious health conditions. This trend could add to our rising healthcare costs.

So why is this happening? Take a step back for a moment and look at the way we make doctor appointments and what happens when we make an appointment. Often you have to wait a week, or longer, see a doctor for maybe five or ten minutes and leave with an Rx Mileenialls feel that’s a huge waste of time in an era of minute clinics and online health. But the dangers associated with not getting physicals or going to an HCP who knows you can be deadly.

Robert, a colleague of mine in California was dealing with a chronic cough he could quite get rid of. He went to various “walk-in” clinics and got Rx’s for everything from COPD inhalers to cough syrup. It was only after he went home that his mother made him go see the family doctor who insisted on doing an x-ray, and other tests, that he learned he had stage 1 lung cancer. Bob was not a smoker and in good health, so the diagnosis of finding cancer came a big surprise. He was told that it could have progressed further if he hadn’t had some tests and an x-ray. Could this happen to more Millennials?

While the AMA continues to tackle bigger issues like drug costs and hospital costs they are failing us all by not pushing for more time with patients and talking to patients about unhealthy lifestyles which could lead to chronic health problems later in life.

Is it too soon for a start-up to offer complete physicals on demand? No not at all but only a doctor who knows their patients can talk about changes he/she may see in a patient. The more time you spend with a patient the closer the relationship.

If you’re a Millennial PLEASE get regular physicals that include blood tests. It’s better to be sure than to look back and say “I wish I found this sooner”. An app will never replace a doctor.