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The upside of patients continuing to flock to urgent care is obvious: They get the care they need when they need it, instead of having to choose between waiting for days to see their primary care provider or heading to the emergency room with a complaint that isn’t actually emergent (meaning they’re clogging up the works there, and incurring higher healthcare costs to do so). The downside of this evolution is that sometimes PCPs are left out of the loop after patients see other providers. A new study by Harris Poll, working at the behest of Mercy Health System in Pennsylvania, reveals that only 36% of patients followed up with their PCP after recent urgent care visits despite being told to do so by the urgent care providers in most cases. What’s especially important for the urgent care provider to know is that 65% of the survey participants said they assumed the PCP received information about their patients’ visits by other means (presumably from the urgent care center). The data underscore the importance of urgent care operators ensuring that the lines of communication between the two settings remain open, and that primary care offices come to trust area urgent care operators. Doing so will only serve to increase the likelihood of healthy referral relationships that benefit both parties.

Is There a Communication Gap Between Patients and Primary Care Physicians?