Millennial behaviors are driving a much-needed change in the healthcare industry and the modern urgent care facility is their vehicle. An estimated 3 million patients visit them each week, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. So why do millennials prefer urgent care over more conventional medical practices such as primary care or the emergency room?
The modern shift of healthcare can be attributed to the nature of the millennial revolution, as it is driven by mobility, technology, and flexibility. Today, everything moves at the speed of data, and if you’re not online, then you are non-existent in their world. If you add the complexity of traditional healthcare and current medical insurance standards, then the old way is no longer meeting their expectations. However, there are four supporting factors that drive the way millennials are changing the healthcare industry.
Convenience is a key driving force in the decision-making process for a millennial patient. After all, this is the generation that prefers using Amazon Prime, Grubhub, and DoorDash. It’s simple to just say they are the “I need it now” generation, but the truth is that technology and application development drives them to that notion. The industry needs to adapt to millennials because of the sophistication of modern research applications. Baby Boomers and Generation X were a lot more willing to accept and adjust to these standards because they didn’t have the same quick access. You also no longer have to deal with long wait times and scheduling appointments weeks in advance due to standard office hours. Eighty-five percent of urgent care centers are open seven days a week.
Process and Availability
In addition, millennials often do not have a primary care physician, therefore it’s convenient for them to find an alternative in an urgent care facility. There are currently 20,000 physicians who practice Urgent Care Medicine today. By not having a primary care physician, they are more likely to take the convenient options that an urgent care facility can provide. This is a generation that has general information at their fingertips (mobile and online), therefore, they are quickly able to review, research, and investigate the reputation of a healthcare provider.
One of the advantages an urgent care facility has over a traditional healthcare practice is their pricing. Many millennials are self employed or working their way up through a new startup business. You’ll find that millennials are actually one of the more frugal and budget conscious generations. It is likely that most of their bills will come out of pocket or swiped on a credit card. Walk-ins are a whole lot more convenient on the bank account than a trip to the emergency room. Many urgent care facilities have heavily discounted, self pay pricing models, which are the most transparent ways to narrow down your costs ahead of time.
Technology and Mobility
The fact is, millennials are part of this ever changing startup technology landscape we live in today. They move from city to city and their careers quickly shift from year to year. Using an urgent care facility to meet their medical needs gives them a geographic advantage as they can find a more familiar style of healthcare in most major cities in the United States. You can quickly look up doctor ratings online to find the best doctors in your area. If you suddenly have an injury and you’re far from your hometown, you can quickly look up urgent care locations in just about every major city. Traditionally, you can’t call your primary care doctor at 9pm to figure out how to get medical attention. The first thing a millennial does is search on their mobile device and walk in to a urgent care facility or clinic.
A Reality Check
Since data moves so quickly in this era, you can also account for a healthier and more informed generation of people as a factor. They don’t have to deal with the ins and outs of chronic illnesses like previous generations do. An urgent care facility gives them what they need and we can only hope that millennials can continue to drive that change for future generations.