There are over 10,000 urgent care centers in the U.S., according to the 2021 Urgent Care Association Benchmarking Report, which is a 5.2% increase from 2019.¹
Several factors drive the rise in urgent care clinics. Hospital systems are continuing to offer outpatient services to capture revenue and control transitions of care. Emergency medicine physicians are seeking opportunities outside of the traditional hospital practice. Primary physicians are seeking ways to improve their margins. Patients choose to have their care provided by an urgent care center to avoid long emergency room waits, minimize expenses, and access direct care when their primary physicians cannot offer immediate care.
Dr. Lawrence Earl, a leading expert on urgent care management and a highly regarded mentor in this fast-growing field, has gathered some facts and figures to help guide physicians who are considering opening an urgent care center. It’s imperative to think beyond the medical opportunity. While starting an urgent care center gives the practicing physician a chance to provide care in a specialized setting and fill a gap in the market – it’s also essential to fully understand the economics of this significant undertaking. Just as any retail operator knows, branding, location, staffing, and the portfolio of products and services offered must add up to a successful formula to meet customer needs.