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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The Connection Between Age and Choosing a Healthcare Setting

If you’ve worked in more than one setting—say, a traditional primary care office and an urgent care center—you’ve probably noticed differing patient preferences. It’s self-evident, for example, that patient who go to urgent care centers prioritize being able to see a provider today over waiting a few days to see their “regular” doctor. You may have been too busy treating those patients to notice that certain preferences can be age-specific, however. Advisory Board conducted a survey of thousands of U.S. healthcare consumers to get a sense of that dynamic, however, …
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Flu Shot Coverage and Effectiveness—a Historical Perspective

Patients who heed your advice to get a flu shot and take common-sense measures to avoid spreading germs—regular, effective handwashing; cleaning common-use surfaces; staying home when they’re sick—are less likely to get the flu. That’s a given. What’s less clear in the midst of any flu season is how many of them do so (and at what point), and how effective the vaccine is for those who do receive it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released retrospective data on each of those questions. As they say in …
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If You Want Your Providers to Get a Flu Shot, Make It a Requirement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has spelled out the best way to ensure providers who work in your urgent care center heed the advice they’re supposed to be giving patients (in short, Get a flu shot). It’s a simple one: Tell them they have to, and make it easy for them to. The CDC just released data for last year’s flu season on the influence of employer-imposed requirements to receive an influenza vaccination among healthcare personnel in hospitals, ambulatory care settings (which includes urgent care centers, in the …
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Urgent Care Visits Go Up (and Up, and Up) While Costs Remain Low vs the ED

The key question posed by the authors of an article published last month in JAMA Internal Medicine: How have patterns of care for low-acuity patients with acute conditions changed over time among a commercially insured population? The answer is, quite a lot—due largely (and much to the benefit of) urgent care. Working from 2008–2015 claims data supplied by Aetna, the researchers looked at utilization, inflation-adjusted price, and spending associated with approximately 20 million acute care visits per study year for acute respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, rashes, and musculoskeletal strains …
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