Yes, Urgent Care Lost Visits During the Pandemic—but Other Settings Lost Far More

Yes, Urgent Care Lost Visits During the Pandemic—but Other Settings Lost Far More

It won’t be news to you that patient visits dropped—precipitously at times—over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. And there’s no getting around the fact that business has suffered, though it’s also a plain fact that many patients are returning. What is probably less evident, but certainly interesting, is that between 2019 and 2020 urgent care centers saw less of a decline in  utilization than emergency rooms and ambulatory surgery centers,  as illustrated in the …

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Urgent Care Is Evolving, but Its Foundational Attributes Remain

Urgent Care Is Evolving, but Its Foundational Attributes Remain

In the article Your Best Investment Is Growing Your Own Business (page 25), Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc makes the case that this could be an ideal time for urgent care operators to bet on their own future growth and success by investing back into their business. For one thing, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be winding down in the U.S., with our industry having made tremendous progress in earning what Urgent Care Association CEO …

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In Spite of Turbulence, the Forecast Is Sunny for the Urgent Care Market

In Spite of Turbulence, the Forecast Is Sunny for the Urgent Care Market

No one would argue that the past 2 years have been easy for urgent care. First many operations were shut out of the running to receive adequate COVID-19 testing supplies. The same occurred in the early days after vaccine approval. Still, the industry adapted. Once testing supplies were available, operators established new procedures to maximize the number of patients could get tested safely and efficiently, whether that meant setting up in parking lots or  selecting …

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PAs Aren’t Just ‘Assisting’ in Providing Urgent Care

PAs Aren’t Just ‘Assisting’ in Providing Urgent Care

In this issue’s Health Law article, What’s the Best Policy for Unlocking an Urgent Care’s Doors when a Provider Isn’t Present? (page 19), author Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc points to the capabilities of advanced practice providers as one rationale some urgent care operators use when opting to stay open for business when a physician isn’t present. You could even go a step further and make the argument that the degree of direct care provided by …

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Yes, Disparities in Prescribing Exist in Urgent Care—but Which Disparities?

Yes, Disparities in Prescribing Exist in Urgent Care—but Which Disparities?

If you read Evaluation of Healthcare Disparities in Urgent Care: A Case Example for Bacterial Pneumonia—see page 23 of this issue—you know that the proportion of appropriate prescriptions written for an on-label medication (in this case, doxycycline for bacterial pneumonia) may differ among various demographic groups. While the conclusions of that study do not necessarily make a cause-and-effect connection, the data should inspire some analysis as to possible rationale for differences for care of various …

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More People Really Are Trying Telehealth These Days—but That Doesn’t Mean They Prefer It

There’s been a lot of discussion (including in JUCM and JUCM News) as to whether the COVID-19 pandemic would usher in a Golden Age of telehealth, whether within urgent care or in possible competition with urgent care. Now that we’re approaching 2 years in, actual data on the subject are starting to emerge.               First, some background: Household Experiences in American During the Delta Variant Outbreak, a survey conducted this year for NPR, the Robert …

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Will Urgent Care Visits return to ‘Normal’ as the Pandemic Turns Endemic?

In spite of the fact that urgent care was overlooked as an essential partner in the fight against COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic, the virus had a major impact on the complaints that drove patients to visit an urgent care center. In fact, according to JUCM research, most of 2019’s top 5 chief complaints fell by at least half as a proportion of all urgent care visits. COVID-19, which was  essentially a …

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Telehealth Use Is Down from Its Peak—But the New Plateau Is Far Higher Than Pre-Pandemic Levels

Telehealth Use Is Down from Its Peak—But the New Plateau Is Far Higher Than Pre-Pandemic Levels

Patients were more willing to use telehealth than ever in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from a report published by McKinsey & Company, telehealth claims grew 7,800% between February 2020 and April 2020. They dropped precipitously just a couple of months later, but have since plateaued. What could be of interest to urgent care operators who are  considering telehealth as a service option, especially as we’re in the midst of …

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Meet the New Urgent Care Boss—Not the Same as the Old Boss

Back in the day, you probably would have been right to assume that the closest urgent care center was founded, owned, and run by a physician. Many other practices (primary care, pediatric…) would have been the same. Well, times have changed in a big way. The mavericks who simply wanted to find a better, more sensible way of practicing medicine and wound up creating a new industry are now employees of national and regional health …

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Telemedicine Still Struggles to Catch on in Urgent Care

Some urgent care insiders view telemedicine as a natural fit for our industry—an opportunity to give patients even more convenient access to competent healthcare providers, thereby increasing engagement and resulting in more care for more patients. Others just don’t see how it would be applicable, or fear that remote visits could result in overprescribing (especially for antibiotics and pain medications). Judging from data just released through the Urgent Care Associations 2021 Summer Benchmarking Report, widespread …

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