The Rise of Urgent Care
Throughout the past 5-10 years, Urgent Care Centers have been popping up throughout New England and the US. While not meant to replace a primary care doctor or an emergency room for truly life-threatening situations, Urgent Care Centers can help fill the gap for patients with common illnesses and non-life threatening episodic events such as sprains, broken bones, the flu or cold. As patients also become more interested in convenience this $18 billion industry continues to grow.
Data from The Urgent Care Association
Why have urgent care centers become so popular?
Patients are now healthcare consumers, they want quality options with ease.
Urgent Care centers offer longer hours and walk-in appointments not available at a traditional doctors office.
Most urgent care centers can treat fractures, take x-rays and conduct lab tests on site, services often not available at a primary care office. According to the UCA, urgent care centers have the ability to diagnose and treat 97% of the patients that visit.
Wait times are also often far less than traditional ER visits.
These centers can provide needed care at a much lower cost.
In rural areas clinics provide a quality option for those without easy access to a hospital.
New urgent care centers are being built to include the latest in health care technology and are often in high traffic locations, offering an easy stop for treatment before a trip to the grocery store.
These changes are especially resonating with Millenials. According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation 45% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 28% of 30- to 40-year-olds didn’t have a primary care provider. These patients are the perfect candidates to visit an Urgent Care facility when they need treatment for a minor illness one to two times each year.
From 2007 to 2016, urgent care centers showed an increase in claims of 1,725%—a growth rate more than seven times that of ER claims (229%) in the same period. With this shift in how Americans access healthcare expect to see more Urgent Care Centers coming to a neighborhood near you.