When 2020 came and passed, many urgent care centers saw a massive increase in the number of visits due to the demand for Covid-19 symptomatic care, including the need for testing and vaccinations. At least half of the influx of patients seeking this type of care were new visitors, and because of this increased demand, urgent care centers have become a viable alternative for treatment in comparison to primary care centers and hospitals. As more urgent care centers continue to expand on their services from emergency to primary care, many patients often still face considerable challenges as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, thus leading to questions about how urgent care facilities can care for patients under these turbulent conditions.
To answer this, we’re here to give you a brief update on what guidelines are used to help keep patients safe and healthy during the pandemic and expand on how urgent care centers work to create a place for on-demand care.
The Urgent Care Industry and On-Demand Care
Visit volumes during the pandemic rose significantly over the past few years due to the high demands for Covid-19 related care. The pandemic has given urgent care clinics the opportunity to serve patients as a go-to option for Covid-related care, with a 58% increase in volume and about 70 million Covid-19 tests administered nationwide. Because of these record-breaking numbers, the urgent care industry has grown significantly since then, but the majority of this growth has come from single visits from new patients rather than multiple, repeating visits with ongoing patients.
These drastic changes in the healthcare industry have led many urgent care clinics to focus their efforts on retaining new patients as returning visitors. Strategic marketing efforts by these clinics have also led to standardization for Covid-19 protocols. These protocols, established by organizations such as the CDC, work to help keep patients safe during their single visits and multiple visits to these clinics and work to create exceptional experiences for patients needing healthcare.
The advancement of healthcare technology combined with these procedures has made urgent care clinics highly valuable assets in today’s industry, and even with unpredictable patient flows, urgent care clinics operate through these methods to help new patients gain treatment:
- Telehealth Services: Telehealth services, including video calls, texting, and phone calls, have been able to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 overall, helping patients assess their symptoms and remove scheduling barriers for tests, vaccines, and other treatments.
- Software Solutions: Texting software solutions, appointment organization methods, and other virtual methods for clinic management have helped enhance engagement with patients, making the scheduling process easier and creating more streamlined workflows.
- Detection and Disinfecting Solutions: Temperature scanners, wearing masks, hand sanitizer, and on-site screenings, many urgent care clinics have taken to these methods to care for episodic health problems and other immediate concerns faced by patients, all while reducing the spread of the virus to provide medical care.
Commitment To Safety and Health in Urgent Care
By following the CDC guidelines, these methods work to reduce not only infection rates but also manage non-Covid related health problems to meet these demands. The best way to find out about your urgent care centers and their protocols is to contact them today to learn more.