Over the past years, the urgent care industry showed significant growth. Urgent care centers and retail clinics have popped up to accommodate the demand of increasing healthcare costs.
They had more than 160.0 million total visits in 2012, or 357 patients per week, according to the Urgent Care Benchmarking Survey produced by the Urgent Care Association of America.
In fact this year, urgent care industry hits $18 billion as big players also drive growth.
The change of consumer preference into the convenience and time-saving service of urgent care, combined with rising emergency care costs and a shortage of primary care physicians has stimulated the demand for industry services.
Here’s a list of the top reasons why urgent care centers are paving their way to becoming the future of the healthcare industry.
1. Increased Demand on Immediate Medical Attention
We live in a time wherein people, and especially the younger generations want things done instantly. Nowadays, patients are attracted by faster appointment settings, video conferencing directly with a physician, and/or having a diversified list of alternative medical services.
According to research, compared to other generations, millennials visit urgent cares and retail clinics more. Millennials - the age group born from 1981-1996, make up a third of patients at retail clinics and a quarter at urgent care centers, according to a recent consumer survey by PNC Healthcare. That is twice the number of baby boomer patients, at 17% and 14% respectively, and seniors, at 15% and 11% respectively.
In addition, when it comes to visiting primary care physicians, however, the same survey reports that seniors lead the way at 85%, followed by baby boomers at 80%, with millennials at 61%.
2. Faster Technology Upgrade
Urgent care facilities can adapt to newer technologies faster and more efficiently because they’re smaller than the typical hospital. Sometimes it’ll take months, even years before hospitals finally approve new technologies, due to compliance, “red tape,” as well as financial difficulties. Such technologies include video conferencing, emailing, access to digital records, and patient portals – all of which cater to individualized medical data ownership.
These healthcare facilities excel in such technologies, especially in providing patient portals, electronic health records on demand, practice management software, newer customer relationship management tools (CRM), and iPad EHR. These tools give a better patient experience.
Concerning medical equipment, urgent cares also adapt to advance technology. They have now eliminated the use of x-ray rooms by having portable x rays on their facility for a variety of uses including chest x ray.
One of the most commonly used mobile x-ray machines is the UC-5000. The UC-5000 is so flexible, powerful and compact that it doesn’t even need a dedicated exam room to operate. It lets you turn any exam room into an X-ray room, so moving patients where you need them is just easier.
This mobile x-ray equipment can deliver faster and reliable results for patients which can lesser wait times, less moving from room to room resulting in happier patients.
3. All-in-One Facility
For years, hospitals were the only diagnosis and treatment facilities for a range of medical conditions, but specialists often required referrals, which also required multiple trips. Times have changed because urgent cares are now also offering more than just services. Some clinics even offer their insurance plans, physical therapy programs, and personalized care.
4. Strong Audience Connection
Similar to hospitals, they have unique marketing parameters. Having fewer restrictions, urgent care facilities have the opportunity to express freely and be more creative. This also gives liberty to local facilities to connect even more with their patients and caregivers.
To reach the local audience, securing a creative platform and a kick-ass marketing team will draw people to you.
Building your brand is vital. What separates you from others? In advertising, it is essential to use topics that relate to your audience, something that creates an impact on their lives. One way to help you with this is through publishing and sharing trending healthcare topics on social media or scholarly publications. Also, getting a dedicated content writer in-house or via an outside agency is highly recommended. Content is the future of digital marketing.
Use social media as leverage. It is the biggest attention-grabber of this era and is continuously expanding. As more and more people using social media as a primary platform to gather information, no doubt that urgent care market will continue to shine.
5. Individuality of Services
Urgent cares gain their patients’ trust by focusing on the individuality aspect of their services. Millennials specifically are more responsive to those service providers that cater to their sense of independence.
Through digital processes, they can now uniquely figure with medical professionals in a way that doesn’t feel rushed, stagnant, or inconvenient.
6. “Drive-by” Access
Having clinics in multiple locations allow people to use services quickly. With the availability of Drop-in centers, acquiring the help patients need is simpler – less time in an office and less paperwork.
Take New York for example. It is a big city and offers plenty of urgent care options. This further adds to the subject that people want quick and reliable care.
The number of urgent care centers have continuously increased and is projected to grow by 5.8% each year through 2018.
7. Innovative Modern Alternative Treatment Options
Urgent care centers have lesser restrictions and are versatile to try newer treatment options as they become available. Such modern treatment alternatives include medical marijuana consulting, homeopathic alternatives, and wholesome health approach that promotes preventive care and maintenance before drastic treatments.
8. Competitive Insurance Plans
Urgent care clinics offer selective health insurance plans that give patients a chance to select policies that cater to their needs and lifestyle. Contrary to as opposed to only a select few options from the primary insurance powerhouses, this gives patients more of a choice.
People use “what works best” for them. Although urgent care centers aren’t going to replace hospitals, nonetheless, they have opened doors towards a convenient care revolution.
They give people access to a more diverse modern medicine, that’s readily available in a more flexible time and at a competitive price.
Urgent care industry has become a trend that matches a younger, more adaptable audience, who are looking for simpler processes when it comes to owning their health, and even slowly influencing the older generations. This industry is definitely here to stay.