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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Common Illnesses. One of the single most popular illnesses reported by urgent care centers is an upper respiratory infection.
- Common Injury. The single most popular injury that brings people into an urgent care center is a laceration or other flesh wound.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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