April 2, 2021 – Often many of us go to the Internet to search for information, whether it is about hotels, music or furniture. And health guidance is no exception – especially among millennials.
A new survey of 2,040 millennials (ages 23 to 39) by Harmony Healthcare IT in February found that 69% of respondents searched online for health and medical advice instead of going to a doctor, and a quarter of respondents Google their Believes to correctly diagnose symptoms. . In addition, a strong majority (83%) are doing their own research, even after hearing advice from their physician, and 42% trust their own research more than their physician.
Researcher Coleen Kazarnecki of the Harmony Healthcare IT survey told MedicalHealthDoctor.com that this is a common thread for millennia, including turning to online resources to self-diagnose symptoms or research about a disease.
Providing reliable online resources
Harmony Healthcare IT conducted a similar survey of Millennials in 2019.
“As a data management firm working with hospitals around the country, we wanted to look at millennials, a demographic that is working with many hospital groups, and we decided to look at millennials again this year What changes can the epidemic bring. , ”Said Czarnecki.
The trend towards the Internet for medical advice has not changed much since the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, although a 2019 survey found a slightly higher percentage (73%) of Millennials online for medical guidance, but “this number is much higher It is equal, ”he said.
MedicalHealthDoctor.com was the most consulted online site. It was used by 71% of respondents, followed by news articles (27%), YouTube (26%), health apps (23%), FamilyDoctor.org (18%), Reddit (18%), and Everyday Health (16 ) Czarnecki said, “)” It was really interesting to see that people are taking advice from Reddit. “” It has been a great resource for research on stocks, but it seems that people are using it for health advice as well. “
Amir Lerman, MD of the Chest Pain and Coronary Physiology Clinic in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic, told MedicalHealthDoctor.com that these results carry an important take-home message for health care providers.
“Consulting the Internet for medical advice is not far-fetched and is part of the democratization of resources,” said Lerman, a professor of medicine, whose research found that large numbers of people online to learn about their heart symptoms Were searching, thus delaying potential life-saving medical care.
“As physicians, we need to ensure that we provide patients with the right online sources for consultation and that they are reliable and not biased professionally or professionally,” he emphasized.
Millennials like telemedicine
Despite the heavy use of the Internet for medical guidance, 79% of Millennials said they have a primary care physician – 3 percentage points by 2019. In fact, one quarter of these (28%) established a new relationship with a primary care physician during the epidemic.
On the other hand, the percentage of millennials who received a physical examination (65%) within the previous year remained unchanged from 2019.
Czarnecki suggested that a greater number of primary care could be explained by the use of telemedicine, a mushroom since the onset of the epidemic.
“We found that close to half of the respondents – 41% – said they would prefer to see a doctor virtually, which is consistent with telehealth facilities for patients,” he said. The fact that more people were home due to social discrimination restrictions related to the epidemic also increased the time people had to go to the doctor.
“Being able to talk to your doctor through a video platform, communicate with the doctor through a health care portal, and more likely the prospect of an appointment played a role in the more relaxed millennium time of a follow-up appointment. Had determined, “Czarnecki said.
Lerman thinks there will be more virtual interactions after the epidemic. They said they could make face-to-face appointments “professional and efficient”.
“Some work can be done prior to appointment through enhancing digital health platforms and applications,” he said. For example, “We are working on doing some cardiac workups at home using devices that can transmit some of the patient’s prematurely.”
The facility of telehealth has made it more popular. And a virtual appointment can also do the groundwork for a person’s visit, as the doctor and the patient have already reviewed the issues together and can jointly decide the time and nature of the person’s visit.
Effects of financial insecurity
Concerns about or potential potential job losses may play a role in increased visits to primary care doctors. With a possible job loss based on Czarnecki’s hypothesis, with an injury to his head, they want to ensure that he received a checkup in the worst case scenario of losing employer-based health care.
Although more millennials have seen a primary care physician, 43% reported ignoring the health issue, and 33% said they ignored it for more than a year. A similar percentage of checkups had not occurred since the onset of the epidemic. The most common reasons were COVID-19 security concerns; But more than a third did not go for physical examination as they felt it was too expensive.
“Economic factors related to the epidemic have played a big role in how millennials relate to their health care,” Czarnecka said.
In fact, close to a quarter (24%) reported taking new medical loans since the onset of the epidemic, with 28% reporting an increase of over $ 1,000.
“Some face-to-face conversations are being covered by insurance, and I think it will increase. There is pressure to cover trips and tests because they save time and money, ”said Lerman.
Many Millennials do not want to get vaccinated
Vaccination is a hot button topic among Americans in general, and millennials are no exception. Only more than half (55%) of the respondents said they would receive a COVID-19 vaccination, a quarter said they would not, and a fifth was not sure.
“Millennials said they would not receive the vaccine, were more likely to not have a primary care physician and were more likely to receive medical advice online through a medical professional,” Czarnecki said.
“Our data suggests millennials have a heavy reliance on the Internet for medical information and disinhibition, and this is likely influencing their opinion on whether or not to receive the vaccine,” he said.
Compared to women, a greater percentage of men were willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (51% vs. 60%, respectively).
Czarnecki speculated that women may be more reluctant to vaccinate than men because recent CDC data suggest that women are reporting worse side effects and more allergies than men.
Another factor is that millennial women in particular “may have major concerns about the potential effect of the vaccine on pregnancy and breastfeeding,” Lerman suggested.
COVID-19 has changed the face of health care for all Americans, and millennials are no exception. “Overall, it is important to see the positive side of the trends found in our survey, especially the importance of telehealth,” Czarnecki said.
He said, “Physicians should ensure that technologies are easily used that make patient-physician interactions easier and are as comfortable and convenient as possible to schedule and hold future appointments.”
Harmony Healthcare IT plans to continue to survey the millennials to see if these trends continue, as healthcare evolves after the epidemic.