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 healthcare 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. The global urgent care centers market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 3.8% during the period between 2014 and 2020. The overall market was worth US$23.5 bn in 2013 and is anticipated to reach a valuation of US$30.5 bn by 2020.
Among the major services provided by urgent care centers, the illness segment holds the majority of the market, followed by the injury segment. The global urgent care centers market has been driven by the growing demand for medical care for illness conditions such as urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, fever and cold, pharyngitis, and otitis media.
Telemedicine to Boost Patient Satisfaction at Urgent Care Centers
Though telemedicine is 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 time could extend to three hours or more while at other locations, there were no wait time at all. By integrating sophisticated medical facilities with telemedicine capabilities, patients are now being examined immediately as well as remotely.
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Rising Number of Hospitals Enter into Urgent Care Center Business in U.S.
Among the key regions in the global urgent care centers market, North America dominates the overall market, followed by Europe. In the coming years, North America is expected to retain its top position in the market owing to the high adoption of urgent care centers for non-emergency conditions. The growing demand for cost-effective and walk-in health services has further boosted the market for urgent care centers in North America.
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 bridging 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 in 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.