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Patient Expectations Driving Growth in On-Demand Care

WARRENVILLE, Ill., May 08, 2018 -- Despite increased competition in the on-demand healthcare and urgent care industries, providers continue to experience consistent, year-over-year growth, according to the annual Benchmarking Report from the Urgent Care Association (UCA) and Merchant Medicine. The total number of urgent care centers in the U.S., alone, jumped to 8,125 in mid-2017, which is a 12 percent increase over 2016.

“A growing patient population is seeking access to immediate, convenient and affordable care, and urgent care centers and other on-demand providers are responding with additional options for patient care,” said Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC, CEO of UCA. “To better serve these populations, on-demand providers are expanding their scope of services to better fill the gaps within the continuum of care.”

State-by-state, urgent care center growth mirrored the increase in populations, as on-demand providers continued to offer convenient care to patients when and where they need it most. Leading the way with the greatest number of urgent care centers are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Michigan.

As patient populations expand and their needs evolve, on-demand providers are evolving as well, incorporating new services and technologies into their offerings – such as telemedicine, occupational health and online registration.

Millennial Patients Driving Change
The Benchmarking Report identified the influence of Millennial consumers as a driving force behind on-demand healthcare growth. Millennials are the largest living generation of consumers, and are known to greatly value patient-centric healthcare models for four reasons:

  • Millennials seek convenient alternatives to a traditional primary care physician
  • Millennials and younger patient populations typically seek care for episodic illnesses and injuries rather than chronic conditions, which urgent care centers provide
  • Millennials prefer on-demand access when shopping for any product or service
  • Millennials look for pricing transparency when making purchasing decisions

In response, urgent care centers continue to make convenience and accessibility a priority. The report found 81 percent of urgent care patients see a provider in less than 20 minutes, with 55 percent being seen in less than 10 minutes, up from 36 percent in 2015.

Expanding Scope of Services
In addition, on-demand providers are expanding their scope of services to connect patient populations to more options for immediate treatments. Urgent care centers are adopting technology to provide real-time information and updates to patients on their computers and smart devices. In 2016, digital registration tools were in place at 76 percent of urgent care centers and online wait times were available at 54 percent of centers, up from 10 percent in 2015.

Another trend sees urgent care centers further increasing off-site service offerings, setting up clinics at employer worksites, schools and other community sites to ensure care is available to patients when and where they need it most.

“As the healthcare industry shifts to meet changing consumer needs, the role of on-demand providers becomes increasingly vital in the healthcare mix,” said Stoimenoff. “Specialty services, technological innovations and increased accessibility are advancing the industry forward as urgent care leads the way in delivering patient-centric care.”

This is the first year UCA and Merchant Medicine are working together on the annual report, bringing deeper insight and a new perspective to the data. This year’s report cites the largest urgent care organizations by ownership type, provides a comprehensive analysis of growth and includes data on urgent care saturation by core-based statistical area.

The full 2017 Benchmarking Report on urgent care and on-demand industry growth and trends is available for purchase on the UCA website here. More information about the UCA can be found at http://www.gateway2better.org.

About the Urgent Care Association
The Urgent Care Association (UCA) is a membership association of leaders, providers and suppliers in the field of on-demand, consumer-focused healthcare. UCA advances the industry and supports member success through advocacy, research, education, collaboration and high standards of care. The association maintains an active online presence and member community for daily exchange of best practices. For more information visit www.ucaoa.org.

Contact: Mary Velan
L.C. Williams & Associates
312-565-4611
[email protected]

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