BLDUP Update


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.

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