• by bcarlson@marketresearch.com
  • October 21 2014

Urgent Care Market Grows Up

Urgent Care Market Grows Up

The estimated 9,400 Urgent care centers (UCCs) in the United States sold over 15 billion dollars worth of services in 2013.  These medical clinics in a free-standing location or strip-mall provide an increasingly critical option between a physician’s office and a hospital emergency room.  The estimate was made in Kalorama’s U.S. Market for Urgent Care Centers (http://www.kaloramainformation.com/Urgent-Care-Centers-8430284/).

Urgent Care Centers provide walk-in, extended hour access for acute illness and injury care that is either beyond the scope or availability of the typical primary care practice. UCC’s differ from traditional physicians’ offices with procedure rooms for lacerations and fractures, radiology department for x-ray services, and in some cases a laboratory. High visibility and adequate parking is part of their business model, thus centers are usually located in freestanding buildings, though they can be located in strip malls and in some cases they may be within a hospital complex but with a separate entrance    Convenient hours are a key strength of urgent care centers.   

Kalorama says the market for urgent care centers was nearly 14 billion dollars in 2013 and will continue to grow as urgent care centers increase patient flow and offer more services.  Urgent care centers today are far more professionally managed and well-resourced than the first outlets that opened up in the 1980’s.   While once the purview of retired physicians or entrepreneurs, the report finds that hospitals will drive urgent care center growth in the next five years, as they seek to relieve crowded and costly ERs and recoup lost revenues.   

In 2014, the urgent care center business could be said to have grown up.  Where once the market consisted of single centers owned by individuals like entrepreneurs or retired physicians, today’s urgent care center is likely to be part of a chain or hospital and part of a well-thought out strategy.

Kalorama’s report suggests there are limits to growth however, Clinics require a high traffic location and a population of  underserved patients.   There is only so much population to support centers.  A successful center needs minimum 8,000 -patient visits per year to survive at all and 14000 to make nationwide averages.  That may require a surrounding population of 50,000, and there’s only so many such areas.  As clinics grow, the choice areas with this   population underserved will diminish.   

The report finds that urgent care centers are well-utilized and once patients go, they return.  Seventy Percent of urgent care center visitors surveyed as part of Kalorama Information’s report went there more than once in the past year. 

TheU.S. Market for Urgent Care Centersfrom Kalorama information contains more information on this industry including expanded market estimates and forecasts, estimates of supplier sales to centers including IVD and pharmaceutical, key players in the industry and current trends.  The report can be found at Kalorama Information at  http://www.kaloramainformation.com/Urgent-Care-Centers-8430284/