Aug 18

Urgent Care Centers: Top 10 Things to Know

Urgent care clinics – walk-in medical clinics treat minor conditions like colds and even conduct imaging and blood tests – services which are seeing growth in recent years. These clinics are constantly straddling the line between emergency room and primary care physician’s practice, which have attracted both patients and investors looking for lower-cost care options. Their growth is so fascinating that we’ve decided to assemble a Top 10 list of the most important things you should know about an urgent care clinic. Read on to discover more.

  1. Location, Location, Location. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, there are approximately 9,000 urgent care centers located in the United States. Of these, roughly 75% are located in suburban areas, 15% in urban areas and 10% in rural areas. What’s more, approximately 40% of the urgent care centers in the US are expecting to add to their existing site or to open another location.
  2. Time Will Tell. Of that original 9,000 urgent care centers in the US, 61% of them have been open for five years or longer. Roughly 40% of those have been open nine years or more. And of all of the urgent care clinics in the United States, only 8% have been open a year or less. It looks like urgent cares won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
  3. There When You Need Them. Approximately 85% of urgent care centers in the US are open seven days a week, with roughly 90% of those holding office hours until sometime after 7 p.m.
  4. Illness Waits for No Man. Of the 9,000 or so urgent care centers operating in the US, 69% of them had wait times under 20 minutes.
  5. Common Illnesses. One of the single most popular illnesses reported by urgent care centers is an upper respiratory infection.
  6. Common Injury. The single most popular injury that brings people into an urgent care center is a laceration or other flesh wound.
  7. Wide Reach. According to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, around 20,000 physicians practice this particular kind of medicine in the United States. Around 94% of urgent care centers even have at least one full-time physician on staff at their clinic. Among these, the most common specialty for these physicians is Family Medicine.
  8. No Expense Spared. In 2012, a survey was conducted regarding the expenses of urgent care clinics. The average annual expenses they determined fell just below $2.3 million per clinic per year. Of this $2.3 million most of it went into the benefits and salaries of employees.
  9. Big Investment Opportunity. Urgent care centers, rather interestingly, seem to be motivating a reinvestment into the medical field in recent years. Private equity firms have invested tens of millions of dollars over the last several, years as have payers and health systems.
  10. Lower Costs. Of the many factors that seem to be motivating this reinvestment in the era of healthcare reform perhaps one of the biggest and most substantial motivators is the fact that on average urgent care centers are significantly less expensive for patients per visit than hospital emergency rooms.

What do you think of our list? Did we leave out anything important or interesting that you would have noted? If so, be sure to leave a comment and share!

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  1. Ashley Turns
    December 26, 2017 at 7:26 pm · Reply

    My husband and I just had our first son, and we are wondering where we should take him if he gets sick. So I like how you mention that 85% of urgent care centers in the US are open 7 days a week. Since we never know when our son could get sick, we’ll be sure to start searching for an urgent care center near us that is open 7 days a week.

  2. Taylor Bishop
    January 11, 2018 at 3:23 pm · Reply

    Thanks for helping me learn more about urgent care centers. I had no idea that a good majority of urgent care centers have a wait time under 20 minutes. I wonder if the day affected this as well, like if some days were busier than others.

  3. Tiffany Locke
    January 18, 2018 at 12:51 am · Reply

    I’m glad that you mention how approximated 85% of the urgent care centers in the US are open seven days a week. This would be useful to make sure you’re able to go to them whenever you have a problem that doesn’t require the emergency room. If you need to go to an urgent care center, you’d probably want to look online so that you can find one that is near your location and is open so that you can get the treatment you need.

  4. Kiara Woodsland
    January 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm · Reply

    It’s interesting to know that there are approximately 9,000 urgent care centers located in the United States according to the Urgent Care Association of America which gave me the interest to find one soon for our family. There are times that my children need emergency services, and it’s crucial for me to make sure that they will get the attention and treatment that they need. Because of the availability of urgent care facilities, it will be easier for me to find one for my family. Thanks!

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