Urgent care medicine is a growing specialty in the medical field. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 physicians that practice this specialty in emergency centers. Many of these centers are a hybrid model of urgent care clinics and emergency rooms.
Over 50% of the urgent care centers in the United States are owned by one or more physicians. On average, an urgent care clinic will have seven exam and treatment rooms. Furthermore, many have advanced diagnostic and laboratory services.
it’s important to note that as of 2011, 342 patients, on average, were seen every week. The Urgent Care Association of America further reports that the average urgent care center had 28 new patients every month.
There are a number of benefits to visiting an urgent care clinic rather than a traditional hospital emergency room. As previously stated, the new model for urgent care clinics is to have urgent care and emergency services within the same facility.
Emergency centers connected to urgent care clinics can provide timely medical care. They can treat illnesses and injuries by providing convenient medical treatment. In addition to providing flu treatment, for example, they can also provide comprehensive specialized pediatric care.
Given the expansion of this hybrid model, many traditional hospital emergency room visits could be reduced or avoided. A private study conducted by Milliman showed that 44%-to-65% of traditional emergency room visits could have been treated in an urgent care clinic. These clinics are able to provide skillful, convenient, and affordable care.
Urgent care facilities are also dedicated to providing timely medical care. What this means is that there is a much shorter waiting time before being seen by a physician or another skilled medical professional. Approximately 60% of these facilities, for example, have a waiting time of less than 15 minutes. Furthermore, 85% always have a physician on-site.
If you’re thinking about becoming a physician, you may be interested to know that there will be a shortage by 2020. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, It is estimated that the United States will need more than 90,000 physicians by 2020, and will need 130,000 by 2025.
According to research discussed in “Projecting U.S. Primary Care Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025,” by 2025, 52,000 primary care physicians will be needed to address health care needs in the United States. As a primary care physician, you would be able to enter the growing field and specialty of urgent care medical providers.