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From a Millennial: The Annual-ish Physical

I am a millennial, and I cannot tell you when I last had a physical. Going on 26 years of age, I do remember the last time I had a primary care physician (PCP), as well as how they dumped me at age 22 (to be fair, it was my pediatrician).
Since then, whenever I fill out relevant paperwork asking for my PCP, I just put my parents’ doctor—because they once told me to. I haven’t seen him since I accompanied my mother on a visit when I was about 8, I’m sure.

Not having a PCP has yet to bite me in the butt. I am rarely sick, maybe once every year, or more likely, every year and a half. When those dreaded times roll around, and I know I’ll need some generic antibiotics, I roll into the good ol’ “doc in a box,” as my friends call it. It is the definition of “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” in healthcare, and I walk out with an Rx already emailed to my preferred pharmacy.

Shockingly, it seems many of my peers share these impressive tendencies. Here are five interesting facts about how millennials go about their healthcare regime:

  1. A Z-Pac is a Z-Pac is a Z-Pac: We are FAR more likely than previous generations to ask for cheaper treatment options (you noticed I said “generic” antibiotics back there, right?), request a price check or appeal an insurance claim, according to PwC’s Health Research Institute. This falls right in line with us being notorious deal shoppers (online, specifically).
  2. Prevention, shmrevention: About 93% of millennials don’t schedule preventative physician visits, according to a survey by ZocDoc. They also found that approximately 51% of us see a physician less than once a year.
  3. You are NOT the Doc: A survey by Salesforce found that about half of us millennials don’t have established relationships with a primary care physician (see my note above on my own “PCP”).
  4. “Doc in a Box” continued: Retail clinics are the preferred facility for treatment for about 34% of my generation as compared to previous generations, according to a survey by PNC Healthcare.
  5. BREAKING NEWS: If you haven’t already heard, we like to check out online reviews before making buying decisions. A PNC Healthcare study shows that about half of the 80 million of us in the U.S. will look at a healthcare provider’s online reviews before booking an appointment.

(Interested in more findings? You can read the rest of the insights here.)

So, what can we glean from these factoids?

  • Make sure your online reviews are A+! If you ask me, if you’re even at half and half on the review scale, you’re losing my business.
  • Let us schedule appointments online. It’s already annoying being sick and have to go somewhere; don’t make me have to call you, too.
  • Steer clear of expensive name-brand drugs, if possible. We’re savvier than you think and will leave an unfortunate online review of you (perpetuating point number 1). Healthcare is ridiculously expensive, and we need you as an advocate to help us stay on our often-tight budgets.
  • Make contact outside the office. For the PCPs trying to keep up with millennials, you do want to foster a relationship with us (we’re pretty popular). Letting us know how we’re causing harm by not seeing you for an annual physical might mean we’re better friends. We dig education.

Surprising marketing strategies? Not particularly. Insights on what a sought-after generation with an estimated $200 billion in annual buying power is looking for in the crowded healthcare marketplace? Absolutely. But hey, take it or leave it.

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