It is no secret that Urgent Care Centers have been on the rise over the last few decades, but the growth skyrocketed exponentially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to ask ourselves, "What does this mean for the infrastructure of healthcare in the U.S.?" Urgent Care Centers have continued to bridge the gap between the need for primary care and emergency room visits. Nowadays, when people are suffering from a medical problem, their first thought is to visit their nearest local Urgent Care. We are seeing this shift especially because 25% of Americans do not even have a primary care provider. What does this mean for Urgent Care Centers?
The time to innovate in the Urgent Care space is now. As a main resource for healthcare for many Americans, there are many practices Urgent Cares are implementing to continue to grow with their patients. People have begun to form relationships with their Urgent Care centers, returning to visit their practitioners because they are receiving high quality care in these facilities.
Prevent Overcrowding & Provide Fast and Convenient Access to Medical Care
Urgent care centers are designed to provide patients with fast and convenient access to medical care. They are equipped to handle a wide range of non-life-threatening medical conditions such as sprains, fractures, cuts, and infections. Urgent care centers have a shorter wait time than emergency rooms, and patients can be seen by a healthcare provider within minutes of arrival.
One of the most significant benefits of urgent care centers is that they help prevent emergency room overcrowding. Many of the more minor cases seen in an emergency room can be minimized when people choose an Urgent Care center and allow the ER to focus on more severe cases and allocate their resources accordingly.
Coordination of Care Between Urgent Care Centers and Primary Care Physicians
Urgent care centers also play a critical role in coordinating when primary care is needed. This ensures that patients receive the care they need to manage their health. In cases where a patient continues to return with a chronic condition, an Urgent Care may refer the patient to a primary care facility so they can maintain follow-up care. Many people say they prefer the level of care they receive at an Urgent Care and will continue to get treated there. The number of visits to primary care offices has been declining while urgent care visits continue to rise due to the excellent care patients receive, according to the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal. Patients appreciate the fast and convenient access to medical care that urgent care centers continuously provide.
Cost Savings for Patients
Another benefit of urgent care centers is that they can provide cost savings for patients. Emergency room visits are typically more expensive than urgent care center visits, and patients may be charged a higher co-pay for emergency room care. Urgent care centers can also provide cost savings for patients who do not have health insurance. Many urgent care centers offer cash payment options, which can be more affordable than paying for emergency room care out of pocket.
By Clinicians, for Clinicians
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