Now more than ever, parents are mindful of where they bring their children for medical care—especially for immediate concerns like minor injuries and run-of-the-mill illness. The last thing they’ll want to do is sit for hours in the emergency room among patients who might be presenting with symptoms of COVID-19. If your urgent care center has a reputation for being child-friendly, it’s likely they’ll come your way. If not…well, they just might end up at your closest competitor’s place. Even before the pandemic, that was a sizeable number of visits. According to research by the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2019 over 26% of children between 0 and 17 years of age made at least one visit to an urgent care center or retail clinic—with 8.2% making two visits, and 4.5% making three or more visits. The numbers roughly track with insurance status, as 27.6% of children with private insurance had one or more visits, compared with 25.2% who were covered by public health insurance, and 19.3% being uninsured. Further, urgent care center and retail health clinic utilization increased with increasing parental education and family income. JUCM has published numerous articles on tailoring the urgent care experience to make it as welcoming as possible for younger patients. An excellent overview is presented in Making Your Urgent Care More Child-Friendly, available in our archive.
Just How Many Patients Are You Missing Out On by Not Being Child-Friendly?