Physicians have long misunderstood the cost of an office visit. Copays, generally not more than $20 seem like a limited disincentive to an office visit. But the cost of an office visit was never just the copay, it includes the cost of the patient’s time, and hassle to schedule, the interruption their day, travel to and from an office visit of say 20 minutes. To the patient, what are nearly 3 hours of their time worth? A complete morning or afternoon lost to a physician office visit. And now add to that deductible, large deductibles. All motivating patients to find a way to access care for less.
And patients are, the use and acceptance of urgent care centers continue to grow. While studies show that most patient understands that the use of an urgent care center is episodic and that some even say they go because they don’t want to bother the physician when they are not really that sick, convenience is the greatest draw of the centers to patients. And now with most health plans providing coverage, convenience trumps continuity of care. Continue Reading