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A new post from (PEH) identifies urgent care as one of the “emerging players allowing patients to connect to care outside of a doctor’s office hours,” a key benefit at a time when access to care is getting more challenging all the time. PEH emphasizes four broad areas in which progress could be made to help patients get to see the clinicians that would be best suited for their current complaints in a timely, cost-effective manner:

1.      Limited appointment availability
2.      Geographic, clinician shortage issues
3.      Transportation barriers
4.      Limited education about care sites

There’s no easy fix for some of these; no organization can come up with a work-around for the clinician shortage, for example. There are solutions out there for others, however. Telemedicine is an emerging possibility to help solve geographic and transportation barriers to care, but it may be some time before it’s widespread enough to have an impact. On the other hand, all healthcare organizations could choose to be more attuned to patient service needs by providing convenient care options (eg, expanded office hours)—in essence, make more of an effort to do what urgent care has been doing all along.

New Report: Urgent Care Can Help Improve Patient Access to Healthcare