According to Consumer Reports, the number of urgent care facilities increased from 6,400 in 2014 to 8,100 in 2018.
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 cares 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 clinics 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 cares 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 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 cares 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 cares, 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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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.
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.
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.
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!
I thought it was interesting to learn that so many urgent cares across the united states had wait times of under 20 minutes. It seems like an urgent care facility would be especially helpful for people with hectic schedules that don’t have the time or don’t want to use the time to wait in a normal care center. I wouldn’t mind using an urgent care center in the future if they can see me quicker than a family doctor can.
My husband and I are expecting a baby girl and I am so nervous about her getting sick and I didn’t know much about urgent care. I had no idea that most urgent cares are open 7 days a week and usually have less than 20 minute wait time. It is comforting to know that most urgent cares are so accessible!
I’m a big fan of urgent care. I like that many of them are open after 7, like you mentioned. People don’t stop getting sick when the doctor’s office closes, and the ER isn’t really a viable option financially for most people.
My sister is having a hard time breathing because of her cold. It was mentioned here that urgent care clinic accepts patients with common illnesses, and it includes common colds. Moreover, urgent care clinics are also cheaper compared to emergency rooms.
Location is definitely a big deal when it comes to care clinics. Its pretty crazy that 75% of them are in suburban areas. My folks lived in suburban areas when I was growing up so care clinics were always close to us.
It’s good to know more about urgent cares. I like how you said that most of them are open 7 days a week. In my opinion, that’s a must because you never know when an emergency will happen! Only being open 5 or 6 days a week just doesn’t make sense.
Thanks for mentioning how an urgent care center should be located in a good area near you. I also like how you said that they should deal with common forms of sicknesses and infections. We are looking for an urgent care center; thanks for the post.
I really appreciate you helping me learn that location is the first and foremost thing that we need to consider. I definitely agree with that since it concerns with our health, it is a must that it should be accessible. And also, it will save more time and energy.
My brother has a fever and we are all worried about him. It was explained here that there are a lot of urgent clinics available that can immediately give my brother medical attention. Having said that, it’s important to go to a trusted urgent care clinic for quality health care.
Even more so than other healthcare sectors….I’d invest. Not a whole lot of industries can boast consistent expansion and retention of new businesses….#1 and #2 on your list. Not that being a health provider a license to print money because I know it’s not. But it feels like I’ve been reading for years about reduced dependence on hospital settings for medical care. The demand for these services is going somewhere.
I certainly did not know that the most common type of urgent care is a flesh wound until you mentioned it. It just goes to show the importance of having urgent care centers close to your home since having lacerations is quite common. The next time my son gets a scrape from playing soccer in the field, I’ll make sure to bring him to an expert urgent care center to get his wound checked out. Thanks for the valuable tips!
I had no idea that urgent care has lower costs. This is a great way to make sure that you are not spending too much on a little issue. My best friend would love knowing this as she begins to think about getting medical help for a few issues.
I didn’t realize that 85% of urgent care centers in the US are open seven days a week. My daughter is prone to getting sick, and with the fall and winter seasons approaching I would like to find an urgent care clinic I can turn to in case my daughter gets really sick. Having a location that is open every day would be incredibly convenient for my daughter’s condition.
I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot of urgent care facilities these days but I never have tried checking that out yet. I understand now that urgent care clinics are like emergency rooms but focusing on primary care only. It’s actually nice to know that there are 9,000 urgent care centers located in the United States nowadays plus they offer lower-cost which is very good for us.
Wow, I never knew that urgent care centers were so much less expensive than emergency rooms. That is really good to know because my husband has frequent problems with his asthma, and it would be great if we could take him to an urgent care facility when he has trouble without having to worry about the price of medical care. We just moved to this area, so we’ll have to find which urgent care centers are best so that we can make sure we’re prepared for the next time he has a problem.
Thanks for this article. If your condition isn’t serious or life-threatening, you may have a less expensive choice. An urgent care center provides quality care like an ER, but can save you hundreds of dollars.
It is interesting to know that urgent care centers offer lower costs. My brother was injured and My parents are trying to decide where to take him. I’ll suggest that they find a reliable urgent care center.
It was very reassuring to know that urgent health care clinics can cater to patients who are inflicted with a flesh wound. Just now, my uncle was involved in an accident while working on his garage, leaving him a very deep wound on his arms. We’re trying our best to remain calm while trying to find the best urgent health care in town.
It sure was helpful when you said that urgent care centers cost significantly less compared to hospitals. My sister’s fever has been on and off since the other day. She is planning to visit a primary care center to be properly treated. I will ask her to consider your tips since her budget has been restricted.
Thanks for sharing valuable knowledge about urgent care clinics. My best friend was injured, and I suggested to him that they find a reliable urgent care center. I appreciate your knowledge.
It’s interesting that you mentioned that a laceration or other flesh wound is the most common injury that sends patients to the emergency room. I need to locate an urgent care clinic for my mother, who has cardiac issues, and I’m new to the area. I appreciate the article and would like to talk to a neighbor who can direct me to a reputable medical facility nearby.