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Millennials are upending the primary care model: 4 things to know

Office-based primary care has been the traditional model for generations, but many millennials prefer the cost and convenience of walk-in clinics, which has forced primary care physicians to change their strategies accordingly, The Washington Post reports.

Here are four things to know:

1. A July poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed 1,200 randomly selected adults and found 26 percent of respondents did not have a primary care provider. Twenty-eight percent of respondents between 30 and 49 years old did not have a primary care provider, compared to 45 percent of respondents between 18 and 29 years old.

2. "There is a generational shift. These trends are more evident among millennials, but not unique to them. I think people's expectations have changed. Convenience [is prized] in almost every aspect of our lives, from shopping to online banking," said Ateev Mehrotra, MD, an associate professor at Boston-based Harvard Medical School.

3. Many primary care practices are hiring additional physicians and nurse practitioners to cut patient wait times and are also embracing patient-facing digital tools to try and cater to millennial patients. "We do far more messaging and interaction through electronic interface," said Mott Blair, MD, a family physician in Wallace, N.C. "I think millennials expect that kind of connectivity."

4. Though walk-in clinics can offer expedient care at transparent prices, facilities that do not offer continuous care can sometimes give patients unnecessary treatments or medications. "We all need care that is coordinated and longitudinal," said Michael Munger, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "Regardless of how healthy you are, you need someone who knows you."

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