All posts by Stuart Williams

Publisher, JUCM

With the opening of its new 24/7 Center for Connected Care, Penn Medicine now operates one of the larges telehealth hubs in the U.S. In addition to virtual urgent care services, the system houses Penn Medicine’s 15-year-old e-ICU, and a service that focuses on patients with chronic illness. It has 50 full-time employees. The move reflects growing use of virtual care across the country, as confirmed by data from Sage Growth Partners revealing that 56% of healthcare executives have already implemented telehealth services, and that 86% of those who haveRead More

Posted On February 20, 2018By Stuart WilliamsIn Legislation, News

More States Try to Address Opioid Crisis Legislatively

West Virginia and Florida are the latest states to seek a legislative solution to the nation’s ongoing crisis of opioid misuse, abuse, and related deaths. In West Virginia, the state senate just voted unanimously to limit new painkiller prescriptions for most patients to a 7-day supply, though the number would be lower for urgent care centers and emergency rooms (4 days) and for dentists and ophthalmologists (3 days). Florida is looking at a bill that would impose a 3-day limit, with exceptions for postsurgery, major trauma, or hospice patients. HagglingRead More
A new study from the University of Phoenix College of Health Professionals reveals that 59% of American adults have used online resources (eg, WebMD) to explore symptoms instead of visiting a primary care physician. Just 12% have used telemedicine in place of primary care. The data reflect an online survey of 2,201 people from a range of demographic categories. Doris Savron, executive dean, interpreted the data as proof that the healthcare industry is leaning toward a more patient-centered model that requires more open communication between patients and providers. Questions coveredRead More
An urgent care operator in Ohio is one of the 14 sites in a phase 3 clinical trial for a prospective Allergan product to treat patients with diabetic gastroparesis (DG), a condition that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. The trial, officially titled A 46-week, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Phase 3 Study With a 6-week Randomized-withdrawal Period to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Relamorelin in Patients with Diabetic Gastroparesis, is expected to run until April 5, 2022. Its participation in the trial isRead More

Posted On February 19, 2018By Stuart WilliamsIn Images Challenge

A 15-Year-Old Boy with Wrist Pain After a Fall

Figure 1. A 15-year-old boy presents with wrist pain and swelling following a fall onto his outstretched hand. He reports that he slipped on a patch of ice and broke his fall by putting his hand forward. View the image taken and consider your next steps, along with possible diagnoses.Read More

Posted On February 13, 2018By Stuart WilliamsIn Industry, News

Research Report: Consumer-Centric Healthcare Favors Urgent Care

A trend toward high-deductible health plans and new technologies that ease access are pushing consumers to demand more from healthcare encounters, according to a new research report from CBInsights. This is evidenced by the growing popularity of “wearable” health-tracking devices and telemedicine services, but also in the number of patients who continue to flock to urgent care centers, according to the report. That, in turn, makes the industry attractive to private-equity investors, who “see opportunities in streamlining operations, bundling different clinic chains, and standardizing processes and tools.” The report pointsRead More

Posted On February 13, 2018By Stuart WilliamsIn News, Payers

Anthem ED Policy is Starting to Rankle Patients

When Anthem announced some months ago it would not cover bills for “unnecessary” (in their retrospective view) trips to the emergency room in some states, we noted objections from physician groups. Now that the policy is in place and claims for 2018 have started to be filed, we’re seeing media reports on angry patients who are getting stuck with bills they presumed would be covered. Consumer Reports, for one, recounts the case of a patient who went to the ED because she thought she could be having a stroke. HerRead More
In the Midst of a Bad Season
This year’s severe flu season is taking a deadly toll in nearly every state in the nation, and it’s not done yet. Urgent care in general is playing a key role in helping to minimize the consequences by continuing to administer vaccines for those who’ve remained healthy so far, and to prescribe antivirals and provide supportive care for those who have the flu. But what does your community know about your expertise and ability to provide the necessary care? Prominent signage and traditional and nontraditional marketing practices work, but youRead More
Urgent message: Given the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices, urgent care operators must have a strategy and policy in place to deal with the privacy implications of personal technologies in the workplace. Mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have become ubiquitous in everyday life, and employers in every industry are increasingly seeing employees access their devices throughout the workday. While concerns over lost productivity should concern all employers, healthcare is unique in the added risks associated with patient privacy and personal health information (PHI). There are numerous waysRead More
Registered radiology technologists working in pediatric urgent care centers produced better-quality images than attending physicians in a newly published study at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. The report was published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. The aim of the study was to assess radiograph quality at urgent care centers staffed with and without technologists, as well as the utilization of radiography in a pediatric urgent care setting. The researchers looked at 235 radiographic exams performed without a radiology technologist (study group) and 83 with a technologistRead More