Americans spend more time traveling to and waiting to be seen by a healthcare provider than any other single pursuit, including in the infamously inefficient motor vehicle department, according to a study just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, that time amounts to an economic cost of roughly $89 billion dollars annually—and that’s not counting the time they spend in the exam room. Over the entire survey period (2006–2017), the sum approaches $1 trillion. The actual impact is probably much costlier, however, because people who can’t make the time to see a doctor may wind up getting sicker and taking whole sick days off from work, according to the American Time Use Survey. Given the fact that wait times in urgent care centers tend to be far lower than in emergency rooms (and even primary and specialty care settings, at times), the ongoing growth of the industry, accompanied by greater adoption in communities, may help the healthcare system realize incalculable savings.
More Rationale for Urgent Care: Travel and Wait Times in Healthcare Cost $89 Billion Annually