If you read the opinion piece implying that urgent care is somehow complicit in the lowering life expectancy in the United States, written by a first-year medical student and published by a medical news service last week, you were probably struck by the flood of misinformation and misguided notions it contained. For example, the author took issue with some urgent care operators’ messaging to their surrounding communities. “UCCs in some cases still market themselves as open 24/7, having on-call physicians, and possessing state-of-the-art technology,” he writes—neglecting the likelihood that an urgent care center marketing itself as such would actually possess those attributes. Further, he suggests the terms emergency room and urgent care center imply merely a “semantic preference.” The real difference between urgent care centers and emergency rooms, he goes on to say, “comes down to admissions and billing.” While some commenters had a better understanding of the realities of UC vs the ED and tried to set the record straight, some who claimed to be healthcare professionals did not. It all should serve as a reminder that there are still misconceptions about urgent care among clinicians, never mind the general public. In the spirit of “even a broken clock is correct twice a day,” we should acknowledge it is a valid concern that some in the medical community and general public may view urgent care on the same level as retail drugstore clinics (another assertion in the editorial). The best way to combat that misperception is for providers to practice at the top of their capabilities, rather than refer “complicated” nonemergent cases as a matter of course. JUCM addressed this concern—and offered answers to it—in an article published just a few months ago. Read How Urgent Care Can Address Its Degrading Scope of Practice now to ensure your operation is leaving patients with the right perception of your capabilities.
Persistent Misinformation About Urgent Care Suggests We Need to Boost Engagement