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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Warning: The Future of Patient Engagement May Require Straying Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Urgent care has faced many challenges since its inception—starting with trying to get healthcare consumers and insurers to understand what it has to offer that’s different from a traditional primary care practice or the emergency room. Through true market evolution—we’re talking Darwin, here—that hurdle has helped separate the wannabes from the real innovators. The latter came to grasp that a patient-friendly approach would be one obvious attribute that could keep waiting rooms full and good …

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Urgent Care Ownership: Corporations on the Rise, Physicians and Hospitals on the Decline

The urgent care industry—always revolutionary compared with other practice settings—is undergoing a revolution of its own. First, entrepreneurial physicians ruled the roost (recall the much-maligned and unfairly categorized “doc in a box”). Then, hospitals figured out they were missing the boat on the practice and financial benefits of the urgent care approach and began acquiring or building their own urgent care centers. As of 2016, though, corporate ownership is most prevalent, followed by physician and …

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One More Look at Head Injury Presentations in Urgent Care

In this issue, we’ve offered an urgent care perspective on which patients presenting with head injury are most likely to require a scan, and shared insights into one urgent care center’s efforts to get a handle on which pediatric patients with head injury really need to be transferred to the emergency room. The fact is that the CT scan remains the standard for assessing for traumatic brain injury. The question that remains is, what’s next? …

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When is On-Demand Care Most In-Demand?

When is On-Demand Care Most In-Demand?

The combination of convenience and quality is the hallmark of the urgent care industry. As time goes on and patients have an increasing array of options, however, “convenience” may be a relevant term (for example, virtual care is becoming more appealing to consumers and payers). Urgent care has taken notice and continues to expand its offerings, from the foundational walk-in visits for a sore throat to school physicals, return-to-work clearance, and support for cancer-related problems. …

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A Snapshot of Flu Vaccination Rates

The ongoing 2017–18 flu season is already one of the worst in recent memory. Recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may offer a clue as to one reason: Based on a complete study of the 2016–17 season, the CDC conjectures that influenza immunization rates may have plateaued. During that most recently completed season, just 46.8% of patients age 6 months or older got a flu shot—an increase of just 1.2% …

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Focusing on the Growth—and Healthcare Savings—of Urgent Care

We all know urgent care has been growing steadily, nearly since its inception. Hard data on the size of the marketplace can be hard to come by, though, as different sources apply varying definitions of what exactly constitutes an urgent care center. Similarly, we know proper utilization of urgent care services has tremendous potential to lower healthcare costs compared with visits to the emergency room. Again, though, the details can be hard to put a …

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