Visits to Primary Care Are Down—While Visits to Urgent Care Are on the Rise

Cost, convenience, and quality are features healthcare consumers cherish. The challenge for healthcare consumers is to find a facility that offers all three. While they can certainly find quality care that’s convenient in their local emergency room, the cost for that care is high. A traditional primary care practice is also a good choice for quality care, but while the cost is going to be much lower than in the ED the patient may have …

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Urgent Care’s Upward Trend of Rapid Testing Continues for Another Year

Convenience has always been the hallmark of the urgent care experience. A patient who wakes up feeling unwell doesn’t want to wait a few days to see their primary care provider—especially if they have something that requires medication. And the best way to sort that out quickly is with a rapid test. Patients certainly understand that, as the number of rapid tests performed in urgent care centers continues to grow. Interestingly, while the total keeps …

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Whether by Strain or Drain, COVID-19 Is Hitting Urgent Care Hard

Paradoxically, some urgent care centers are struggling due to low patient volumes during the COVID-19 crisis; patients who aren’t feeling that bad are afraid to venture out to a healthcare facility, while others who fear they could have the virus are heading to the hospital (hopefully, after calling first as recommended). Some operators have chosen to close for a while or consolidate locations. On the other hand, urgent care operators in urban, heavily affected areas …

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Image May not Be Everything, but Imaging Comes Pretty Close

It used to be that the ability to administer x-rays on site was enough to distinguish one urgent care center’s superiority over another. With most urgent care operators understanding that patients have come to expect x-ray services these days, however, it’s not such a competitive advantage. Rather, making the process as smooth as possible and ensuring the reads are spot-on should encourage patients to come back in the future. Failing to do so will likely …

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Thirty-Three Billion Reasons Patients Should Be Heading to Urgent Care Instead of the ED

Urgent care has flourished because of its defining attribute of providing high-quality, walk-in care more efficiently and less expensively than the emergency room offers. Yet, we continue to read articles in the mainstream media saying that so many people still flock to the ED with relatively minor complaints that during high-volume periods (like flu season), hospital and local health officials practically beg them to go to an urgent care center instead. The question of why …

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Most Urgent Care Centers Give Immunization a Shot—of One Type or Another

If you haven’t noticed, it’s flu season. In fact, it’s been flu season longer than usual for this point compared with past years, thanks to an unexpectedly early arrival. With months to go, though, there’s still time for patients who have not been immunized to reap the benefits of getting a flu shot. This is not to say that influenza is the only immunization patients need. With reports of measles also beginning to climb as …

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Flu Season is Nearly Synonymous with Rapid Test Season—Are You Ready?

Flu Season is Nearly Synonymous with Rapid Test Season—Are You Ready? Patients come to urgent care because they know they can get excellent care without an appointment, and without languishing in the waiting area of the ED. So, it stands to reason that if they need lab tests they want to get them on site, at your facility, with the same degree of efficiency that drew them in to begin with. This is never truer …

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Conjunctivitis: When the Eyes Have It, How Many Patients Turn to Urgent Care?

“Care must be taken to differentiate bacterial infections from viral diseases and allergic conditions.”1 Things don’t get much plainer than that statement, quoted from an article published in Review Of Ophthalmology back in 2006. And yet, care is not always taken to differentiate bacterial infections of the eye from viral diseases and allergic conditions. That was made abundantly clear in this month’s cover article, Evaluation of Infectious Conjunctivitis by Clinical Evaluation and Novel Diagnostics (page …

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Physician Assignment Searches: Urgent Care is on the Rise, Hospitals on the Decline

This is an interesting time to be in the healthcare field. We keep hearing (and are starting to see the effects of) a serious shortage in available physicians across multiple settings, but most direly in primary care. To compensate, many practices are relying more on the skills and high-level training of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, now known collectively as advanced practice providers (APPs). At the same time, consumers continue to demonstrate a growing preference …

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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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