By Dan Stanek
The family doctor’s office has been a sacred institution for as long as we can remember. Once you choose a doctor, unless you experience a serious breach in quality or you move or change insurance, you stick with them. But despite current satisfaction with primary care physicians (PCP), loyalty is eroding, as can be seen with younger consumers. And every day, more competitors pop up who could threaten the primacy of primary care.
The Research Background
We wanted to more clearly understand what that routine healthcare picture looks like today—and how different it may look in the future. We decided to study the ways in which consumers are making decisions about whom to visit when the flu strikes, when they need their next physical, or when they sprain a wrist or an ankle. The findings show a significant contrast between the needs of younger versus older healthcare consumers. And these differences give us a glimpse into a future with a very different healthcare landscape. One you need to be prepared for.
The Coming Threat to the PCP
Choices are rapidly emerging to challenge the PCP’s foothold on our routine care. When asked which kind of provider was their “first thought for healthcare,” only slightly more than half of respondents (53%) named a PCP.
This is where we start to see a potential for PCP loyalty to erode: Younger consumers are dissatisfied with the status quo. Because they care more about convenience, speed, and ease of access than do Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, Gen Z and Millennial respondents are frustrated with slow, cumbersome PCP offices.
Today’s picture is fairly rosy for PCPs, who get higher scores in our survey. But shadows loom. A generational divide threatens to erode primary care loyalty. And it promises to boost the growth of quality alternatives.
The Future is about Treating Patients on Their Terms
Consumers perceive retail and urgent care facilities similarly—to varying degrees as being “convenient,” “easy,” and “quick.” We asked respondents to tell us their thoughts about why they most often use the various healthcare alternatives. Our research clearly shows consumers consider urgent care clinics as quick, easy places to get appointments and care. Respondents see retail clinics similarly, calling them convenient, easy, good and fast.
Are New Concepts the Answer?
In our healthcare white paper, we take a deep look at the differences between what younger generations want from healthcare versus what older generations prefer. It’s possible that one of the concepts that we tested are the answer. But we can’t give away all of the secrets of the white paper here. Now’s your chance to download the paper for our in-depth look at the healthcare opportunities we identified.