The increased wait times in emergency rooms and explosion in the popularity of urgent care have been (and continue to be) well documented. Not as much attention has been paid to why there’s so much more traffic. A study soon to be published in Academic Emergency Medicine reveals a few of the answers—and some of them support the notion that urgent care fulfills unique needs, either clinically or in terms of patient preference:
- Limited access to or confidence in primary care
- Patient-perceived urgency
- Views of family, friends or other health professionals
- “Individual factors” (eg, cost)
- Belief that their condition required hospital care or assessment
The researchers arrived at these conclusions after systematic searches of online literature portals encompassing the years 1995–2016. Most of the 38 studies considered were from the U.S. and the UK.