Who Uses Urgent Care the Most?

Patients between 31 and 40 years old accounted for the highest percentage of requests for urgent care, making up 18% of all requests. The next largest age groups were 41 to 50 (15.7%) and 23 to 30 (15.2%). Dr. McNeeley, a board-certified family medicine and urgent care specialist, ran his own practice from 1999 to 2004 while also working in an urgent care clinic.

Urgent care clinics provide a service that traditional doctor's offices can't always meet, with longer hours and walk-in appointments. While they tend to be open longer than offices, patients don't expect to see a particular provider when seeking care at an urgent care clinic, so when a doctor isn't working, they're really out of work. Emergency rooms are open 24/7 and provide care for critical or life-threatening conditions. Millennials may be more likely to use urgent care centers due to the Great Recession, which paralyzed many careers and salaries. Most urgent care centers offer same-day services and generally have shorter wait times than emergency rooms.

Urgent care centers are for diseases and injuries that are not life-threatening, but still require treatment. This trend is making other patients choose urgent care clinics for faster, easier, and cheaper service. Millennials love extended weekend and evening hours, walk-in availability, and shorter wait times, so urgent care businesses are popping up everywhere. The cost of an urgent care visit is often similar to that of a visit to the primary care doctor and much lower than that of a visit to the emergency department. Providers must respond to competition in the urgent care market by improving emergency service operational strategies to meet these emerging trends. 33% of millennials skipped primary care, while only 15% of those aged 50 to 64 said the same.

McNeeley currently supervises healthcare providers at ten centers in the University Hospital Urgent Care Network, and continues to see patients every week.

Bridgette Onken
Bridgette Onken

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