While acknowledging that traditional primary care settings, including pediatric practices, remain “the foundation of pediatric care,” a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals that a growing number of parents in the U.S. are choosing urgent care and other acute care settings instead of their pediatrician’s office when their children are sick. After looking at more than 71 million pediatric primary care visits by commercially insured children between 2008 and 2016, the researchers reported that primary care “problem-based” visits fell by more than 24% while visits for preventive care increased nearly 10%. At the same time, visits to “other acute care venues,” which included urgent care, retail clinics, and the emergency room, rose more than 30%. The data reflect a trend that has been evident to many in the urgent care industry in recent years, by virtue of the growing number of pediatric-focused urgent care practices. JUCM has covered this issue from both the general urgent care operators’ and pediatric urgent care operators’ perspectives. For more insights, read Making Your Urgent Care More Child-Friendly and Pediatric Urgent Care—Specialized Medicine on the Front Lines in the JUCM archive.
Parents Are Moving Away from Pediatricians—Toward Urgent Care—When the Kids Are Sick