Adults in the U.S. are visiting primary care doctors less often, according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a trend that is troubling since primary care is there to keep people healthy.
The study, which focused on adults enrolled with a large commercial insurer, found that:
- Between 2008 and 2016, visits to primary care physicians declined by 24.2%, and nearly half of adults didn’t visit one in any given year by the end of the time frame
- Groups with the largest declines were young adults, adults without chronic conditions, and those living in the lowest-income areas
Meanwhile, visits to alternative facilities like urgent care clinics increased by 46.9%