Telemedicine in Urgent Care—Yay, Nay, or Too Soon to Say?

If you read this month’s Urgent Perspectives column (page 1), you were treated to a dynamic conversation between two urgent care leaders about the relative merits—and potential drawbacks—of utilizing telemedicine in the urgent care setting. The disparate opinions presented there are reflected in the larger urgent care marketplace, as well. The Urgent Care Association’s 2018 Benchmarking Report notes an interesting dichotomy: Only 1.58% of the sampling reflected in the report say they provide telemedicine—a drop from 9% in the previous report. However, 87% of respondents said they intend to offer …
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New Data Show Urgent Care Outpacing Retail and ED Traffic

Urgent care started as something akin to the California Gold Rush; if a physician had the resources, the inclination, and the chutzpah to do so, they could stake a claim in the great wilderness of this new way of practicing medicine. The more reticent (some would have said prudent at the time) stayed in their lanes to continue practicing traditional family medicine, or pediatrics, or take shifts in the emergency room. Competition was scarce. That didn’t last long, of course—to the extent that urgent care operators are not just competing …
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Does Your Website Show Patients How Much Financial Flexibility You Offer?

This month’s Practice Management feature article, Perfecting the Consumer Financial Experience in Your Urgent Care Center, reveals that with increasing flexibility in accessing healthcare, patients also want more flexibility when it comes to paying their bill. Their insurance status comes into play, as do methods of payment. It’s been suggested that such details may even play a part in choosing where they go when they need to see a provider.As such, it could be to your advantage to let them know this type of information before they walk through your …
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Proof: Availability of Urgent Care Lowers ED Traffic—and Could Save Up to $1 Billion

It has always seemed self-evident that urgent care centers, offering a lower-cost and usually faster experience that is also on par clinically for nonemergent complaints, should help draw patients away from overcrowded emergency rooms. Just as obviously, that would mean more efficient use of the ED for patients who truly need to be there, and less of a financial burden on the healthcare system. One problem has been a lack of conclusive data to back up those contentions. Until now. A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research …
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Can Urgent Care and Advanced Practice Providers Fill the Void as PCP Numbers Dwindle?

The much-discussed shortage in primary care physicians isn’t going to get any better over the coming decades. In fact, it’s probably going to get a lot worse—and urgent care is likely to play a significant role in mitigating the risk for the U.S. population, according to a new report from UnitedHealthGroup.1 The problem isn’t that fewer physicians are committing to primary care as a career choice; their ranks are actually expected to grow by 6% between now and 2025. However, the U.S. population is growing at a faster rate so …
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