Developing Data

Driven partially by increased use of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, patients continued to flood emergency rooms across the country in increasing numbers over the 10-year period ending in 2014, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ; see graph below). The implications for urgent care are A) that some of those patients surely received their first opioid prescriptions in an urgent care center legitimately for treatment of acute pain, underscoring the need for continued vigilance and commitment to responsible prescribing practices, and B) as always,Read More
Urgent care thrives on repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth from loyal patients. Although many urgent care centers track the percentage of new vs established patients—those who have been seen in the past 3 years—few measure frequency of use by individual patients. This is an important measure used in other service businesses, however, based on the assumption that customers who patronize their favorite businesses more often also spend more money, and encourage others (either in person and online) to patronize the business as well. A Practice Velocity study of over 5 millionRead More
There’s little evidence that emerging payment models (eg, concierge medicine, cash-only practices, and accountable care organizations [ACOs]) are gaining any serious traction in urgent care—but that doesn’t mean they’re not making headway elsewhere. ACOs, in particular, are growing in usage among physicians, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2017. Usage of cash-only and concierge models is also growing, albeit much more modestly, as the graph below shows. Data source: Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2017. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/slideshow/compensation-2017-overview-6008547. Accessed April 11, 2017. Data reflect the responses of 19,270 physicians acrossRead More
Medical assistants (MAs) are the core of urgent care’s clinical support workforce (as noted in Cost Effective Staffing with Medical Assistants in the January, 2017 edition of JUCM; see http://www.jucm.com/cost-effective-staffing-medical-assistants/). However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for MAs is expected to outstrip supply over the next decade, just as the aging baby-boom population will increase demand for physician services—especially in the primary care setting, where the bulk of MAs work. For urgent care operators, a 23% increase in demand for MAs (compared with 7% for all otherRead More

Posted On March 16, 2017 By In Developing Data

How Patients Pay Their Bills

Of the survey participants, most (78%) manage billing with in-house staff, while the rest contract for their billing services or use other methods. Such billing efforts cost an average amount of $215.91 per patient—about $3,336,967 per site and $8,876,333 per urgent care center. Small wonder, then, that 14% of respondents cannot yet call their business “profitable.”Read More
Over two-thirds of urgent care centers offer a blend of occupational medicine services (generally defined as treatment of workers compensation injuries, conducting physicals for compliance or fitness for duty, and substance abuse testing), according to the Urgent Care Association of America.1 One challenge for those that do is that the overall incidence of workplace injuries has declined significantly this century, due to an overall shift from a manufacturing to a service and information economy, the offshoring/outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs, and employer investments in safety, prevention, and automation. Simply put,Read More
A Practice Velocity study of 63,000 patient charts presenting with one of 35 diagnoses associated with sexually transmitted infections (STI) between January 2010 and November 2016 reveals the highest incidence occurs during the late summer/early autumn. With urgent care’s typical seasonality driven by upper respiratory illness, which is most prevalent in the winter months, STI presentations actually run contra-seasonal to “typical” urgent care volume.  Read More
The 100 largest urgent care operators in the United States run approximately 25% of the locations under their banners, according to research by Practice Velocity and National Urgent Care Realty. They’re getting even bigger, too; the number of locations owned by the companies on the list expanded by about 20% this year. While ownership was once delineated between hospital-affiliated and independents, several multi-unit operators now operate in some (but not all) of their markets as hospital joint ventures or under management agreements. Large national hospital operators (eg, HCA, Tenet) areRead More