The Growth of the Urgent Care Industry in 2023

The healthcare sector continues to grow in 2023, with residential care and urgent care facilities among the drivers of growth. Urgent care centers have seen tremendous increases in number and popularity over the last several years as patients struggled to make same-day appointments with their primary care physicians and look for options to overcrowded hospital emergency departments. 

Urgent Care 2023 in Numbers

According to the Urgent Care Association (UCA), patient volume in urgent care centers has increased by 60% since 2019. The association’s figures include Covid-related and other visits. Despite the pandemic appearing to recede, urgent care patient volume is primed to grow further this year. 

Urgent care patients are not only those who are unable to see their primary care doctor immediately. Most urgent care centers can also handle relatively complex conditions that would otherwise have required a trip to the emergency room (ER). 

As a result, the UCA has noticed a clear relationship between the demand for emergency care and the availability of urgent care. When an urgent care center opened near a hospital, ER visits tended to drop by up to 17%. Industry insiders believe that the need for urgent care services will continue to grow across all 50 states. 

These centers provide more extensive services than most physicians’ practices can, many times including x-ray diagnostics and basic laboratory services. Urgent care teams also provide care for relatively serious conditions such as low-grade pneumonia. Because of their versatility, they have become the first port of call for many Americans looking for professional medical advice.

Urgent Care Staffing is Critical to Patient Outcomes

The same requirement for versatility, however, can make staffing tricky for urgent care centers. Depending on the expected complexity and patient volume, different staffing models are appropriate. Nevertheless, most urgent care centers rely on a single urgent care physician who is supported either by a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant and other support staff.

In many cases, payroll expenses are the single largest expense for an established urgent care center. At the very beginning of the facility’s setup, payroll tends to be eclipsed by investments in medical equipment and the building itself. Once the business starts running, though, payroll takes over. 

To operate successfully, delivering high-quality patient care needs to be balanced with running a successful business. In practice, that means urgent care centers need to cover all the staffing needs to offer the services their patients demand without overstaffing. For most centers, that means paying not only a physician and a nurse practitioner but also accounting for radiologist technicians, medical assistants, and administrative staff. 

Cross-training staff is important, too. Especially in a small facility, it is critical to ensure that more than one person can operate a specific piece of equipment or attend to a medical condition. Successful urgent care facilities believe that running their businesses relatively lean is the key to providing patient services successfully. 

How Urgent Care Staffing Services Can Help

Like other businesses, many urgent care facilities start small and grow as patient demand increases. Even with thorough business planning and projections, it is not always possible to anticipate spikes in patient volume or a sudden, prolonged increase in demand. 

In that scenario, urgent care staffing services can provide the additional pairs of hands or special skills a facility needs. Urgent care staffing is also an excellent option when members of the core team become ill or have to take a leave of absence. 

Engaging a staffing agency gives your urgent care facility the peace of mind you need to put your patients first. Care for your patients without interruptions caused by staff turnover or lengthy recruitment processes. 

Final Thoughts

As the urgent care sector continues to grow, professional and proven medical staffing services can help new and existing facilities deliver the services their patients need most.

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