Urgent Care Is an Appropriate Setting for Any Age—But What Ages Are Showing Up the Most?

This issue of JUCM, without any plan to do so, demonstrates the age range of patients who realize the value of high-quality, relatively low-cost, convenient care on a walk-in basis. In the preceding pages, there’s an in-depth report on how to ensure you’re prepared to provide the appropriate care for a child who’s been vomiting for previously unexplained reasons. Abstracts in Urgent Care features analysis of articles on topics of greater concern in midlife (the …

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Telemedicine in Urgent Care—Yay, Nay, or Too Soon to Say?

If you read this month’s Urgent Perspectives column (page 1), you were treated to a dynamic conversation between two urgent care leaders about the relative merits—and potential drawbacks—of utilizing telemedicine in the urgent care setting. The disparate opinions presented there are reflected in the larger urgent care marketplace, as well. The Urgent Care Association’s 2018 Benchmarking Report notes an interesting dichotomy: Only 1.58% of the sampling reflected in the report say they provide telemedicine—a drop …

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New Data Show Urgent Care Outpacing Retail and ED Traffic

Urgent care started as something akin to the California Gold Rush; if a physician had the resources, the inclination, and the chutzpah to do so, they could stake a claim in the great wilderness of this new way of practicing medicine. The more reticent (some would have said prudent at the time) stayed in their lanes to continue practicing traditional family medicine, or pediatrics, or take shifts in the emergency room. Competition was scarce. That …

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Does Your Website Show Patients How Much Financial Flexibility You Offer?

This month’s Practice Management feature article, Perfecting the Consumer Financial Experience in Your Urgent Care Center, reveals that with increasing flexibility in accessing healthcare, patients also want more flexibility when it comes to paying their bill. Their insurance status comes into play, as do methods of payment. It’s been suggested that such details may even play a part in choosing where they go when they need to see a provider. As such, it could be …

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Proof: Availability of Urgent Care Lowers ED Traffic—and Could Save Up to $1 Billion

It has always seemed self-evident that urgent care centers, offering a lower-cost and usually faster experience that is also on par clinically for nonemergent complaints, should help draw patients away from overcrowded emergency rooms. Just as obviously, that would mean more efficient use of the ED for patients who truly need to be there, and less of a financial burden on the healthcare system. One problem has been a lack of conclusive data to back …

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Can Urgent Care and Advanced Practice Providers Fill the Void as PCP Numbers Dwindle?

The much-discussed shortage in primary care physicians isn’t going to get any better over the coming decades. In fact, it’s probably going to get a lot worse—and urgent care is likely to play a significant role in mitigating the risk for the U.S. population, according to a new report from UnitedHealthGroup.1 The problem isn’t that fewer physicians are committing to primary care as a career choice; their ranks are actually expected to grow by 6% …

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The Connection Between Age and Choosing a Healthcare Setting

If you’ve worked in more than one setting—say, a traditional primary care office and an urgent care center—you’ve probably noticed differing patient preferences. It’s self-evident, for example, that patient who go to urgent care centers prioritize being able to see a provider today over waiting a few days to see their “regular” doctor. You may have been too busy treating those patients to notice that certain preferences can be age-specific, however. Advisory Board conducted a …

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Flu Shot Coverage and Effectiveness—a Historical Perspective

Patients who heed your advice to get a flu shot and take common-sense measures to avoid spreading germs—regular, effective handwashing; cleaning common-use surfaces; staying home when they’re sick—are less likely to get the flu. That’s a given. What’s less clear in the midst of any flu season is how many of them do so (and at what point), and how effective the vaccine is for those who do receive it. The Centers for Disease Control …

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If You Want Your Providers to Get a Flu Shot, Make It a Requirement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has spelled out the best way to ensure providers who work in your urgent care center heed the advice they’re supposed to be giving patients (in short, Get a flu shot). It’s a simple one: Tell them they have to, and make it easy for them to. The CDC just released data for last year’s flu season on the influence of employer-imposed requirements to receive an influenza vaccination …

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Urgent Care Visits Go Up (and Up, and Up) While Costs Remain Low vs the ED

The key question posed by the authors of an article published last month in JAMA Internal Medicine: How have patterns of care for low-acuity patients with acute conditions changed over time among a commercially insured population? The answer is, quite a lot—due largely (and much to the benefit of) urgent care. Working from 2008–2015 claims data supplied by Aetna, the researchers looked at utilization, inflation-adjusted price, and spending associated with approximately 20 million acute care …

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