As healthcare delivery continues to evolve, nontraditional service outlets, including urgent care centers, are growing rapidly. Today, there are nearly 10,000 urgent care centers, expanding at a pace of 6% a year. In these times of shortages of almost all types of healthcare professionals, staffing urgent care centers requires careful workforce planning.
For patients, the appeal of urgent care centers includes lower costs, shorter wait times, extended hours and speedier treatments. Patients who visit an urgent care center may be newly insured through the Affordable Care Act -- and can be new to the healthcare process in general – so they may prefer the convenience factor and informal setting of these centers.