Urgent Care is a Fast Growing Health Care Segment

healthcare providersStemming from long years of having people wait in emergency rooms for non-urgent, yet much-needed medical assistance, this type of service has come to stay. Immediate care centers have grown and developed in these past years more than any other segment in the world of health services. However, the reasons behind this growth are much more complex than the simple “sick-of-waiting-card”. There has been a general decadence in the quality of health services that has affected every area. Traditionally, people would go to their family doctors in order to get their annual check-ups or other types of physical exams. In recent times though, the appointment issue has become even worse than ER waiting times.

Urgent Care: A practical Alternative

This trend is not likely to be reversed any time soon. For one thing, first-class health care providers can be found in these centers without having to schedule appointments weeks in advance. Moreover, many people are turning to these centers whenever they have to take up a physical exam of any kind (school, work or sport). Last but not least, extended hours and unusual timetables make these places particularly useful to those who work office hours and are unable to schedule appointments then. After all, only 29% of primary care doctors offer after-hour health coverage. Imagine getting your annual flu shot on a Friday evening or getting your pre- occupational physical exam on a Sunday morning? All of this is possible thanks to time flexibility available in urgent care centers. If you consider that attention time in these centers is a rough 30 minutes per/patient, you may feel tempted not to go into ER ever again in your life.

A Question of Trust

Many patients may appear reluctant at first. Nonetheless, they eventually fall for what is evident: most urgent care centers resort to highly-qualified, well-trained health professionals that include specialists in several areas. This makes people feel both confident and comfortable about the attention they are getting. Apart from basic medical attention, urgent care centers offer specialized services, such as X-rays, computer imaging or lab services.

Money Matters

Finally, what is making the trend even more noticeable is the economic factor. On average, immediate care centers are much more affordable than emergency rooms: about 40% less. This is the reason why most health insurance companies are now requesting their members to go to these centers rather than visit the traditional ER. In fact, urgent attention centers are saving insurers a great deal of money.

In the past, insurance companies did not use to have agreements with these centers. These days however, most large insurance companies have signed agreements with most urgent care centers, so every time you visit one of these facilities, your health insurance company gets charged for the visit on a co-payment basis. This type of system has proved to be highly effective since patients are requested to pay only a percentage of the medical attention they get. It is estimated that each visit to an urgent care center will cost each patient between $25 and $50.

As we can see, there are many reasons why urgent care is a fast growing business, and the best is that it hasn’t reached its peak, yet.

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