Urgent care operators know all too well that visits dropped precipitously at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as patients stayed home rather than risk exposure in the waiting room or from clinicians. By June of 2020, an article in Managed Healthcare Executive reminds us, around 41% of adults begged off visiting a healthcare provider. Whether valid or not, patient concern before the advent of vaccination and testing for COVID-19 was understandable. The greater concern, therefore, is that so many patients are still staying away. Possible reasons are multivariate, according to the article. Some patients may still be concerned about transmission, while others may have lost healthcare coverage due to a change in job status. Still more may be trying to keep spending to a minimum so are not seeking care for anything other than serious injury or illness. The main purpose of the article, however, is to offer suggestions to help practices entice more patients to return. A couple of highlights (with broader discussion of each available in the source article) include educating consumers on the value of screenings and early investigation into concerning symptoms. By a similar token, consider creating education programs to teach patients more about self-care. In addition, the article floats the idea of offering telehealth services. While hotly debated in urgent care, at the very least virtual visits may offer the opportunity to maintain patient relationships and rebuild comfort.
Two Years into the Pandemic—and After Months of Progress—Patients Are Still Leery of Visits