Millennials flock to telemedicine, online research

April 2, 2021-The Internet is usually the first stop for many of us to find information, whether it’s about hotels, music or furniture. Health guidance is no exception-especially among millennials.

A new survey of 2040 millennials (23 to 39 years old) conducted by Harmony Healthcare IT in February found that 69% of respondents searched for health and medical advice online instead of seeing a doctor, and a quarter Of respondents believe that Google can accurately diagnose their symptoms. Moreover, even after listening to the doctor’s advice, the vast majority (83%) are still conducting their own research, and 42% trust their research more than their own doctors.

“This seems to be a common topic among millennials, who are turning to online resources to self-diagnose symptoms or conduct research on diseases they may have,” Collin Czarnecki, a researcher in the Harmony Healthcare IT survey, told WebMD.

Provide reliable online resources

Harmony Healthcare IT conducted a similar survey of millennials in 2019.

“As a data management company that cooperates with hospitals across the country, we want to study the millennial generation. This is the population that many hospital groups are working with. We decided to study the millennial generation again this year to understand what this epidemic might bring. Changes,” Czarnecki said.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking medical advice on the Internet has not changed much. Although the 2019 survey found that the percentage of millennials receiving medical advice online was slightly higher (73%), “this number is still very high. Pretty much,” he said.

WebMD is the most popular online website. 71% of respondents use it, followed by news articles (27%), YouTube (26%), health apps (23%), (18%), Reddit (18%) and Everyday Health (16 Czarnecki said: “It’s really interesting to see people consulting Reddit.” “This has always been an important resource for researching stocks, but it seems that people are also using it as health advice.”

Dr. Amir Lerman, director of the Chest Pain and Coronary Physiology Clinic of the Cardiovascular Medicine Department of the Mayo Clinic, told WebMD that these results have important implications for healthcare providers.

Lehman, a professor of medicine, said: “Consulting on the Internet for medical advice has not disappeared. This is part of the democratization of resources.” His research found that many people are searching online to understand their heart symptoms, which may delay life-saving medical treatment. service.

He emphasized: “As doctors, we must ensure that we provide the correct online resources for patient consultation, and that they are reliable and free of commercial or professional bias.”

Millennials prefer telemedicine

Despite the extensive use of the Internet for medical guidance, 79% of millennials surveyed said they have a primary care doctor, an increase of 3 percentage points from 2019. In fact, more than a quarter (28%) of them have established new primary care doctors. Relationship with primary care physicians during the pandemic.

On the other hand, the percentage of millennials (65%) who received a physical examination in the past year has remained unchanged since 2019.

Czarnecki believes that since the beginning of the pandemic, the rise of telemedicine has led to an increase in the use of telemedicine, which may explain the increase in the number of primary care visits.

He said: “We found that nearly half of the respondents (41%) indicated that they would prefer to see a doctor virtually, which is in line with the convenience that telemedicine brings to patients.” Due to the social distancing restrictions associated with the pandemic, there are The fact that more people are at home also increases the amount of time people may have to see a doctor.

Czarnecki said: “Being able to talk to your doctor through the video platform, communicate with the doctor through the healthcare portal and schedule appointments, may play a role in providing greater comfort for millennials in arranging follow-up appointments.”

Leman believes that even after the pandemic, there will be more virtual interactions. He said they can conduct face-to-face appointments “professional and efficient.”

He said: “Some work can be done by adding digital medical platforms and applications before appointment.” For example, “We are doing some cardiac examinations at home by using equipment that can transmit certain patient information in advance.”

The convenience of telemedicine also makes it more and more popular. Virtual appointments can also lay the foundation for in-person visits, because doctors and patients have reviewed the issues together and can jointly decide the time and nature of the in-person visits.

The impact of financial insecurity

Concerns about potential unemployment or vacations may have played a role in increasing visits to primary care physicians. Czarnecki hypothesized: “Because of the imminent potential for unemployment, they want to ensure that they are tested in the worst-case scenario if they lose their employer-based healthcare.”

Although more and more millennials have seen primary care doctors, as many as 43% reported ignoring health problems, while 33% said they ignored them for more than a year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, no similar proportion of people have not been checked. The most common cause is the safety of COVID-19. But more than one-third of the people did not participate in the physical examination because they thought it was too expensive.

Czarnecki noted: “Economic factors related to epidemics have played a huge role in the relationship between millennials and their healthcare.”

In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly a quarter (24%) of the respondents said they had assumed new medical debt, and 28% of them said they had increased by more than $1,000.

“Some non-face-to-face interactions are already covered by insurance, and I think this will grow.” Lerman said: “There is pressure to cover up the cost of visits and testing because they save time and money.

Many millennials do not want to be vaccinated

Vaccination is a hot topic that Americans are generally concerned about, and millennials are no exception. Only slightly more than half (55%) of the respondents said they would receive COVID-19 vaccination, a quarter of the respondents said they would not, and another one-fifth of the respondents were not sure.

Czarnecki said: “Millennials who say they won’t be vaccinated are more likely to have no primary care doctors and are more likely to get medical advice online rather than through medical professionals.”

He said: “Our data shows that millennials rely heavily on the Internet for medical information and false information, which may affect their views on whether they should be vaccinated.”

Compared with women, men are more willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (51% and 60%, respectively).

Czarnecki speculates that women may be more reluctant to receive vaccination than men because the latest data from the CDC shows that compared with men, women report more serious side effects and more allergic reactions.

Lehman suggested that another factor is that women, especially millennials, may “have significant concerns about the potential impact of vaccines on pregnancy and breastfeeding.”

Silver lining?

COVID-19 has changed the face of healthcare for all Americans, and millennials are no exception. “In general, it is important to pay attention to the positive aspects of the trends that our survey found, especially the importance of telemedicine,” Czarnecki said.

He said: “Physicians should ensure that easy-to-use technology facilitates doctor-patient interaction and that they schedule and book future appointments as seamless and convenient as possible.

Harmony Healthcare IT plans to continue to investigate millennials to see if these trends continue as healthcare develops after the pandemic.

WebMD Health News


CDC: “The first month of COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring-United States, December 14, 2020 to January 13, 2021.”

Jama: “The correlation between search engine queries for chest pain and the epidemiology of coronary heart disease.”

Harmony Healthcare IT: “The survey reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the health of millennials,” “The survey reveals the relationship between millennials and healthcare.”

Collin Czarnecki, IT researcher at Harmony Medical.

Amir Lerman, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director of the Chest Pain and Coronary Physiology Clinic, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

©2021 WebMD, LLC. all rights reserved.

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