Medical progress is driven by research. Opinions must be continuously challenged in order to assure the greatest likelihood of efficacy, quality, and safety. Over the last century, research has focused on examining the innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to disease and prevention that form the backbone of clinical medicine as we know it today.
While science continues to make expansive strides along multiple clinical fronts, a new area of research interest evolves: Let’s call it Healthcare Delivery: Models and Quality. The study of issues such as accessibility, cost, patient satisfaction, efficiency, and clinical integration has generated keen interest by the likes of such policy giants as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Examining the use of technology to support improved healthcare delivery and quality is also generating excitement in the research community. Conquering theproblems that plague our nation’s emergency services system deserves additional notice, as well.
Urgent care medicine is positioned uniquely to play a leading role in the study of unique healthcare delivery paradigms. I need not convince all of you of the role urgent care plays in addressing the issues of access, cost, quality, satisfaction, and the use of technology to improve healthcare delivery. We do, however, collectively need to convince the scientific and public communities of such.
JUCM™, The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine is unique in that it serves as a forum for ALL of us to challenge our assumptions, to prove and reprove the value of urgent care medicine and its role in improving healthcare delivery and quality. Consider the following potential topics:
- Cost-of-care savings in urgent care vs. ED for non-life threatening illness and injury
- Management of chest pain in urgent care: outcomes analysis
- Efficacy of return-to-work programs/efficacy of urgent cares vs. primary care and orthopedics at minimizing lost days due to injury\
- Use of technology to reduce errors and improve efficiency
Ultimately, these research topics, and many others like them, will raise urgent care medicine where it belongs—to the forefront of the healthcare delivery discussion. I encourage all of our readers to transform the undeniable enthusiasm and passion you have for the value and virtues of urgent care medicine into an equivalent passion for proving its value and virtues. There are many research resources available through your local medical schools, hospitals, and medical societies, as well as grant money available through many health policy foundations like Robert Wood Johnson and AHRQ.
You do not have to have any research experience to produce a simple study of excellent quality, and, often, research money is earmarked for non-academic physicians and practices to ensure a “real-world” perspective.
JUCM is already working to publish several pieces of original research that will both highlight the value of our discipline and analyze some of its finer points. Our pledge is to disseminate original research designed by urgent care clinicians for urgent care clinicians as often as possible. I encourage you to join the ranks of the researchers who will fuel the continued growth of our dynamic discipline.
Hope you enjoy. Hope you’re inspired.