Specialty urgent care centers have proved to be challenging from a business standpoint, traditionally. Few (if any) orthopedic urgent care operations have been able to survive unless they were attached to a hospital system or larger, traditional orthopedic practice. Those, however, may be on the cusp of a growth—and that could make for some competition with the mainstream urgent care marketplace. As noted in a report from KSL TV, for example, Intermountain Healthcare’s Southwest Urgent Care just opened up an orthopedic urgent care operation in St. George, UT, with more to come across Utah according to the parent company. While urgent care clearly has a competitive advantage by virtue of being able to treat patients with vastly broader complaints beyond orthopedics, the value of ortho urgent care to the patient overlaps with one of urgent care’s key selling points—avoiding long waits and higher costs in the emergency room. Further, merely attaching the word “orthopedic” to the name of the facility could convey an air of expertise to patients wondering where they should go in the moment. Data from a study published by Cureus support that perspective; when an orthopedic group opens its own urgent care operation, referrals to the ED drop by 40%. The case for the operator is compelling, as well: In seeing an average of 12,722 patients per year, they generate net revenue of $1.7 million (an average of $134 per visit). All told, according to the study, downstream revenue from this patient base is $7.7 million. That’s a lot of money that might otherwise be going to urgent care.

Orthopedic ‘Urgent Care’ May Be Poised for a Growth Spurt. Here’s What It Means to You
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