Schimpff, MD: “If urgent care centers don’t innovate, how long will they last?”

Part of a series.

retail health 3Urgent care clinics provide a useful service to the community, but their days may be numbered with survival questionable resulting from intense competition from the chain pharmacies and soon from Walmart.

Urgent care companies began to proliferate 30 years ago but have gained traction in recent years as emergency room wait times rapidly lengthened. Urgent care is less expensive than the ER, is open 24/7 or at least begins early and continues late, and the staff is dedicated to minor and moderate medical problems that need rapid or immediate attention. Urgent care centers do not require an appointment like a doctor’s office, but most encourage a pre-call or an online connection to set a definitive time for the visit; meaning little or no waiting time.



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