Developing Data

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 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
The following chart, based on data from a Practice Velocity study of more than 20,000,000 patient visits over a 5-year period, shows that urgent care exhibits a strong pattern of seasonality. The average daily visits in each month vary from average daily visits over the course of a year.Read More

Posted On November 2, 2016 By In Developing Data

Flu as a percentage of total visits

The following chart, based on a study of over 20,000,000 patients’ records in Practice Velocity’s database of patient visits across the United States, illustrates the frequency of influenza diagnoses between January 2010 and October 2016 relative to total urgent care visits that carried an evaluation and management (E/M) code. The period of December through January is the typical peak of the flu season, although in some years flu outbreaks occur somewhat earlier or later. In 2016, for instance, there was a low incidence of flu until March. Some years haveRead More
Availability of basic x-ray capabilities differentiates urgent care centers from walk-in primary-care and retail clinics, which lack such capabilities. According to an analysis of nearly 50,000 patient encounters by Practice Velocity and Teleradiology Specialists, approximately 11% of urgent care visits require an x-ray. The top 10 views, summarized here by Current Procedural Technology (CPT) codes, account for 86% of urgent care x-rays. (Note: The top 10 views include 11 views because of the equal percentage of presentations on the 10th most common view.) Consistent with the prevalence of cases of upper-respiratoryRead More