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.