Developing Data

Urgent care insiders know our industry continues to grow and evolve, and understand that convenience, cost, and quality of care are what keeps patients coming back. Data from outside the industry diving a bit deeper into the “why” of patient volume has been a bit scarce, however. A Harris Poll commissioned by Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania takes a step toward remedying that shortage, however. Not surprisingly, a strong majority (66%) of the 1,700 U.S. adults who took part in the survey said they would seek care from anRead More
In this issue of JUCM, we inaugurate a new focus on treating children in the urgent care center. This will manifest in the form of semiregular articles by clinicians who’ve made the commitment to focus on pediatric urgent care. The first, Approach to the Child with Chest Pain, appears on page XX. We are not alone in recognizing that urgent care is ideally suited to the treatment of children whose presenting symptoms don’t warrant a trip to the emergency room, but whose caregivers recognize they have to be seen todayRead More

Posted On August 28, 2017 By In Developing Data

Come October, Come the Flu

On paper, flu season starts next month, meaning it’s an ideal time to start reminding patients they’ll need flu shots (and that you’ll be happy to provide one). While the majority of children tend to get their shots toward the end of the season according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the distribution has been more evenly distributed for adults over the past few flu seasons, as seen in Figure 1, below. The benefits of administering flu shots in your urgent care center are twofold: 1) additional revenueRead More
Driven partially by increased use of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, patients continued to flood emergency rooms across the country in increasing numbers over the 10-year period ending in 2014, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ; see graph below). The implications for urgent care are A) that some of those patients surely received their first opioid prescriptions in an urgent care center legitimately for treatment of acute pain, underscoring the need for continued vigilance and commitment to responsible prescribing practices, and B) as always,Read More
Urgent care thrives on repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth from loyal patients. Although many urgent care centers track the percentage of new vs established patients—those who have been seen in the past 3 years—few measure frequency of use by individual patients. This is an important measure used in other service businesses, however, based on the assumption that customers who patronize their favorite businesses more often also spend more money, and encourage others (either in person and online) to patronize the business as well. A Practice Velocity study of over 5 millionRead More
There’s little evidence that emerging payment models (eg, concierge medicine, cash-only practices, and accountable care organizations [ACOs]) are gaining any serious traction in urgent care—but that doesn’t mean they’re not making headway elsewhere. ACOs, in particular, are growing in usage among physicians, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2017. Usage of cash-only and concierge models is also growing, albeit much more modestly, as the graph below shows. Data source: Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2017. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/slideshow/compensation-2017-overview-6008547. Accessed April 11, 2017. Data reflect the responses of 19,270 physicians acrossRead More
Medical assistants (MAs) are the core of urgent care’s clinical support workforce (as noted in Cost Effective Staffing with Medical Assistants in the January, 2017 edition of JUCM; see https://www.jucm.com/cost-effective-staffing-medical-assistants/). However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for MAs is expected to outstrip supply over the next decade, just as the aging baby-boom population will increase demand for physician services—especially in the primary care setting, where the bulk of MAs work. For urgent care operators, a 23% increase in demand for MAs (compared with 7% for all otherRead More

Posted On March 16, 2017 By In Developing Data

How Patients Pay Their Bills

Of the survey participants, most (78%) manage billing with in-house staff, while the rest contract for their billing services or use other methods. Such billing efforts cost an average amount of $215.91 per patient—about $3,336,967 per site and $8,876,333 per urgent care center. Small wonder, then, that 14% of respondents cannot yet call their business “profitable.”Read More