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Convenience is key for millennials seeking health care. Like every other product or service they consume, millennials look for speed of delivery, ease of access, and simplicity of service. While doctors’ offices are making use of technology to improve the customer experience, urgent care centers are the clear winners when it comes to finding cheaper, faster, and easier to obtain health care services.

Urgent Care Industry: $18 Billion and Growing

Here are some statistics about the urgent care industry that may be surprising. According to Medical Economics,

• In 2015, there were 6,946 urgent care clinics in the U.S. By mid-2018, that number grew to 8,258.
• Industry experts expect that number to grow by 5% to 6% by year end.
• Each year, 89 million people receive care at urgent care clinics.
• 29% of all primary care visits are at an urgent care facility.
• 15% of all outpatient care is handled in an urgent care clinic.

What do millennials want most from their healthcare providers and medical facilities?

When it comes to obtaining health care, millennials value convenient healthcare more than anything else.

Today’s patients are consumers, and that goes for non-millennial patients as well. They don’t want to wait weeks or even months to see a doctor for a simple evaluation, treatment, or prescription. Urgent care clinics provide conveniences that some traditional doctor’s offices still lack. These include same day or walk-in appointments, easily accessible, ground floor offices in retail locations, and on-site diagnostic equipment.

What are the real benefits of choosing an urgent care clinic?

1. Reduced costs. The average cost of an emergency room visit can exceed $2,000. For those with no insurance, or must pay a deductible or copay, this can be cost prohibitive. Urgent care visits, by contrast, can cost less than $200 depending on the services needed.
2. Less waiting time. People spend several hours in an emergency department to be evaluated for pain, flu, and other conditions or to be treated for simple fractures and wounds. Much of that time is spent waiting for diagnostic imaging and interpretation by a radiologist. Urgent care centers reduce that time and can provide diagnosis and treatment almost immediately.
3. Easier to access. Urgent care clinics are found in many residential and retail areas that are more accessible than hospital campuses. Parking is often available at the door at no cost in a retail area parking lot.

Consumers of Medical Care Have More Choice

There will always be a need for emergency rooms, hospital campuses, and traditional doctors’ offices. Trauma centers and surgical units are still the best place for major medical issues like cardiovascular emergencies. But for minor emergencies and everyday care such as wellness visits, work and sports physicals, evaluations and prescriptions, urgent care facilities provide people with a quick and inexpensive alternative for medical treatment.