wait an average of 19 days for an appointment with a family practice doctor, making healthcare difficult to obtain. When you can take three vacations in the time that you’ll wait to see a doctor, something is really wrong. The magic of the Internet – online Skype appointments and iPhone diagnostics – lacks assurance that something dire hasn’t been missed. This is why doctors train, get credentialed, and ‘practice.’
Providers with smart, extended footprints are doing more. Our data shows that over the next five years, demand for after-hours care in some markets can grow 35%, versus a 22% demand growth for overall Emergency Department (ED) care. The newly insured’s younger enrollees – those under 35 – will use the ED twice as often as when they were uninsured. Nationally, 62% of ED visits are urgent, suggesting that at least one in three can be seen elsewhere.
Payers are concerned that 70% of ED visits are avoidable, and they can save the $1100/visit by redirecting ED patients to lower-cost sites, such as urgent care centers. Urgent care is right for patient demand, good for the provider access, and effective for payers seeking to contain costs.
Winning the race to profit from the demand for urgent care and improve patient experience calls for delivering the right service, in the right market, with the right access.
VP, Advisory Services