Important Facts About Urgent Care
One of the most significant challenges currently facing the American healthcare system is a shortage of primary care physicians. In fact, in a 2016 survey conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), one in five respondents indicated that they had been unable to see their primary care physician in the last two years because of lack of available appointment times. A challenge the healthcare system has been working to overcome is having skilled medical professionals available to provide service and treatment in a fast, affordable, and convenient manner. For this reason and others, the Urgent Care Medicine delivery model has strongly resonated with the American public.
Urgent Care, by definition, is designed to provide medical care for illnesses or injuries that require attention but are not life threatening. This delivery model is structured to get the patient in the door, seeing a medical professional, and back on the road to recovery in as little time as possible. In fact, according to a recent report by the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA), 92 percent of urgent care centers reported wait times of less than 30 minutes in 2015. Furthermore, urgent care centers tend to maintain later, longer regular business hours, making them a convenient alternative to a mid-week appointment with a primary care physician. Plus, since appointments don’t need to be made several days in advance, patients are able to get the treatment they need, when they need it.
This gives people an alternative to visiting the ER in situations that require immediate attention but aren’t necessarily an emergency. Only three percent of patients who visited an urgent care center in 2016 had to be redirected to an emergency room, according to the UCAOA report.
For these reasons and others, Urgent Care Medicine is more popular than ever. At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we recognized the rapid pace in which Urgent Care Medicine has grown, and we developed the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine (BCUCM) to recognize highly experienced and knowledgeable Urgent Care physicians with board certification distinction. With so many urgent care locations opening around the country, having a board certified BCUCM physician on staff can represent a significant competitive advantage. To determine if a physician is certified through the BCUCM, visit our portal here. Or, if you are a physician with extensive Urgent Care experience and you are interested in pursuing board certification through our Member Board, contact the ABPS today.