“This white paper is a must read for every urgent care owner and/or operator looking to understand the trends that could determine whether clinics succeed in a rapidly changing healthcare environment,” said Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC, CEO of UCAOA.
(PRWEB) February 07, 2018
The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) has announced the release of its white paper, The Essential Role of the Urgent Care Center in Population Health, which provides an outlook on current growth and trends, as well as data-driven predictions of how the industry will continue to innovate in 2018 and beyond. The complimentary white paper provides healthcare decision makers with expert research and insight on the evolving healthcare landscape to help plan for industry changes in the coming year.
“Our team of experts worked together to identify and quantify trends influencing industry changes as healthcare shifts to a more customer-centric, on-demand delivery model,” said Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC, CEO of UCAOA and co-author of the white paper. “Our data forecasts consumers will seek and embrace new technologies and healthcare solutions, while the urgent care industry continues to diversify services and improve access to care.”
Four Trends Driving the Future of Healthcare
The Essential Role of the Urgent Care Center in Population Health identifies four key trends in 2018 that are stimulating urgent care growth and innovation: more on-demand options, cost-effective delivery models, expansion into specialty services and focus on high-value.
1. More On-Demand Options
Patients prioritize convenience and accessibility of care, driving the need for more on-demand services. In response, insurers, hospital and healthcare organizations, and other key stakeholders will increase their investment in the urgent care delivery model to accommodate patient needs and ease the strain on crowded emergency departments and overburdened primary care providers.
2. Cost-Efficient Delivery Models
Urgent care centers offer urgent and primary care services cost-effectively. The comprehensive care they are able to provide, typically under the same roof saves both time and money. Many urgent care operators have implemented clinical and operational technologies and processes that enhance their efficiency, reduce wait times, and manage patient flow throughout the day. This combination ultimately manifests in a positive patient experience.
3. Diversification and Specialty Services
Urgent care operators are expected to continue to augment their existing scope of services. Employer services, including occupational medicine, is an example of how they are leveraging their core competency of caring for unscheduled injuries and illnesses, into expanded service offerings. This core competency is also reflected as many implement telemedicine and e-health services. The industry has expanded to include not only traditional urgent care services, but also pediatric, orthopedic, and behavioral health specialty centers.
4. High-Value will be Key
Recognizing that urgent care centers are often the gateway into a patient-centered medical home as well as a far more cost-effective option than an emergency department, payers should strongly consider removing disincentives to those seeking urgent and primary care services in the urgent care setting, including high copayments and application of these services to high deductibles. Urgent care centers serve as a solution by offloading appropriate patients from the emergency department and supporting the medical home which is often at capacity.
“As urgent care becomes more integrated into mainstream healthcare delivery and technology in 2018, patients and providers will enjoy enhanced coordination of care and improved outcomes,” said Nate Newman, MD, FAAFP, Past President of UCAOA and co-author of the white paper. “Our industry data underscores the integral role current and future urgent care providers across the country play in the proliferation of value-based care and same-day access to acute primary care services.”
Urgent Care Industry Quick Stats
The white paper expects urgent care growth will be driven by demand for high-quality, convenient services and a focus on patient satisfaction. Statistics supporting this projection include:
- The $18 billion industry is expected to grow 5.8% in 2018, offering services beyond a typical primary care office and providing support in the face of a physician shortage
- UCAOA numbers report 7,639 urgent care centers in the United States as of June 2017, up from 7,271 in 2016 and 6,946 in 2015
- Urgent care centers handle more than 89.2 million patient visits per year, representing 18.2% of all primary care visits and 9.7% of all outpatient physician visits
- 40% of emergency department visits do not require emergency services, and emergency department visits drop by 30% in communities with access to on-demand, no-appointment medical care
“This white paper is a must read for every urgent care owner and/or operator looking to understand the trends that could determine whether clinics succeed in a rapidly changing healthcare environment,” said Stoimenoff.
To download a free copy of the UCAOA State of the Industry white paper, please visit http://www.ucaoa.org/whitepaper.
About the Urgent Care Association of America
The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) is a membership association for urgent care health and management professionals, clinics and those who support the urgent care industry. UCAOA provides educational programs in clinical care and practice management, has a monthly Journal of Urgent Care Medicine and maintains an active online presence and member community for daily exchange of best practices. UCAOA provides leadership, education and resources for the successful practice of urgent care for its members. For more information visit http://www.ucaoa.org.
(i)HarrisWilliams&Co, Urgent Care Industry Overview, Sept 2013
(ii)UCAOA 2015 Benchmarking Survey Report
(iii)National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Urgent care Centers in the U.S.: Findings from a national survey,” RM Weinick, SJ Bristol, CM DesRoches, May 15, 2009
(iv) British Medical Journal, LE, Community Characteristics Associated with Where Urgent Care Centers Are Located, 2016