Hospitals Focus on Urgent Care Centers to Reduce Overcrowding across Emergency Wards

Published Date : Apr 21, 2016

The urgent care model is designed to offer convenient access to cost-effective and quality healthcare services to patients. Urgent care centers can be defined as medical care centers that offer health care services on a walk-in on non-appointment basis for injuries or illnesses that are not life threatening. At most of the urgent care centers, medical care services for injuries and trauma, moderate injuries, routine vaccinations, occupational medicines, lab tests, physicals, and screening and monitoring are being provided.

Doctor’s Care Implements Telemedicine across Its Urgent Care Centers

Though telemedicine is being largely seen as a competitor to urgent care centers, an urgent care chain in South Carolina and Tennessee is investing in telemedicine to offer patients with more options for receiving medical care. Doctor’s Care, an urgent care chain with 55 centers across South Carolina and Tennessee, has implemented telemedicine to efficiently handle the rush of patients at its centers and improve patient satisfaction. The organization realized that at some of its centers, wait times could extend to three hours or more while at other locations, there were no wait times. By equipping busy facilities with telemedicine capabilities, patients are now being examined immediately as well as remotely. 

22% Urgent Care Centers in U.S. are Hospital-Owned

According to the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA), there are around 7,100 full-service urgent care centers across the U.S. Among these, around 22% are owned by hospitals while 15% are a part of joint ventures with hospitals. Industry experts foresee urgent care centers filling the wide gap between emergency care and primary care in the coming days. A number of hospitals are entering into the business of urgent care centers as they help decrease overcrowding across emergency departments. Further, they also let patients to see a specialist in the health system for follow-up care. Urgent care centers help doctor too as they eliminate non-emergency cases from emergency rooms, thereby letting ER doctors to focus on critical cases.