Why Physician Board Certification Matters for Urgent Care Centers
What it comes down to for patients, essentially, is convenient access to affordable, quality healthcare. Urgent care centers have filled that niche and continue to play an ever increasing role in helping to keep Americans healthy and in treating their relatively minor cuts, abrasions, aches, pains, and illnesses. Ultimately, what these centers have done is provide a convenient, nearby, accessible alternative to patients with private health insurance as well as those covered by Medicare. In fact, so familiar have urgent care centers become that it is now necessary for individual centers or those owned by hospitals and other big providers to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market place.
One highly effective way to stand out is to hire physicians who have achieved physician board certification in urgent care medicine from the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine (BCUCM), a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). This is distinct from advertising “board certified” physicians who are not specifically certified through the BCUCM. Hiring physicians who are board certified in urgent care medicine adds authority and gravitas to any clinic, because these physicians have demonstrated a mastery of the core competencies required to practice urgent care medicine at the highest level. There is no more powerful or compelling argument to be made in favor of a particular urgent care clinic.
Urgent care centers are so prevalent on the medical landscape these days that it’s not easy to remember that when they first came on the scene in the 1980s, they were virtually unknown to most of the general public. If a primary care physician’s office was closed back in those days, the first thought was to head to the nearest hospital emergency room for treatment of non-life-threatening illness or injury. This relative dearth of patient traffic could be attributed, in part, to the lack of a cohesive marketing strategy employed by the urgent care industry as a whole.
As mentioned, urgent care centers have proliferated in recent years. There are more than 9,000 urgent care facilities in the United States, and more open every day. Many factors have contributed to this growth, including:
- Long wait times for appointments with primary care physicians (PCP)
- Crowded hospital emergency departments
- Demand by patients for more accessible healthcare
- A lack of after-hours appointments offered by PCPs
To learn more about the BCUCM, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.