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Urgent Care Market Reaches $15 Billion as Locations, Patient Visits Rise

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The urgent care center (UCCs) market has reached 15 billion, according to Kalorama Information.  The healthcare research publisher publishes routinely on the urgent care center market and the retail clinic market and said that UCCs are now an established segment of the U.S. health care industry.  Urgent care clinics (UCCs) emerged in the 1970s and have grown quickly to meet the needs of rising health care costs and consumers seeking convenience.   Some of the growth is actually due to hospital systems starting urgent care centers to reduce the demand at their hospital emergency room, aiming to make those areas of their system more profitable. Other centers are started by entrepreneurial physicians as a means to expand their income while meeting a market need.   The number of clinic locations has similarly risen strongly, standing at over 10,000 locations in 2017.

Kalorama estimated the market in its new report on urgent care.

Kalorama estimates that the average urgent care center in 2016 saw 294 patients per week and about 15,300 patients throughout the year. (Some of which may be multiple visits from the same patients); In a very positive development for the urgent care center market, patient volume will continue to expand through 2021 to about 300 patients per week, with revenue per UCC increasing to almost $1.7 million.  

"Most of the urgent care center market is related to cold flu and throat will continue to represent the greatest single source of UCC revenue, followed closely by treatment of lacerations and wounds, and fractures and sprains," said Bruce Carlson, Publisher of Kalorama Information. 

These three categories comprise half of all UCC visits; UCC sales have risen from about $11.8 billion in 2011 to more than $15 billion in 2017.   This represents growth of about 4.1% per year. Gains have been driven by an expanding need for services, as shown in high growth of visits, at 2.7% per year, outpacing growth of new clinic openings, at 1.7% per year;  The competitive landscape of the urgent care market is extremely dynamic, with a growing number of players and rapidly shifting positions. As of the end of 2016, Concentra, U.S. Healthworks, American Family Care and MedExpress are the largest brands, but no brand is particularly large. 

Urgent care clinics (UCCs) are distinct from retail clinics in that they are staffed with physicians and treat a wider range of medically intensive conditions.  Although different operators employ slightly different approaches, the overall business model utilized by urgent care clinics is actually quite consistent. It involves the provision of basic health care services at a low cost, in a facility conveniently situated in a high-traffic location, with broad hours of operation. Care is intended to supplement that provided by the patient's primary care provider, particularly for common illnesses where the diagnoses are clear-cut and the therapies are proven. Locations such as drug stores, food stores, mass merchandisers and other popular retail outlets with pharmacies enable patient accessibility and make it easy for patients to get their prescriptions filled nearby. Most of the clinics are open seven days a week – twelve hours a day from Monday to Friday and eight hours each on Saturday and Sunday. This schedule is considerably more convenient than a traditional physician's office.  Waiting times are kept short, with most visits taking 10 to 15 minutes. Thus the genesis of the term, "convenience clinic."

The urgent care market business model involves providing a full range of services of nonemergency acute care. The model relies on equipment and staff. Most have a physician on staff, generally more than one. Convenient hours are a key strength of urgent care centers. Most urgent cares have hours as early as 7 am and up to 8 pm at night. By comparison, only 31% of primary care doctors have after-hours coverage.  High visibility and adequate parking is part of their business model, thus centers are usually located in freestanding buildings, though they can be located in strip malls and in some cases they are within a hospital complex with a separate entrance. About half of centers are in freestanding buildings, the rest in strip malls or other attached building structures. The average UCC is between 3,500 square feet and 12,000 square feet. The variation is based on common practice and the extent of services offered.

The urgent care clinic concept has shown potential to provide affordable, accessible and quality medical care to consumers who otherwise would have to wait hours, days, or even weeks for care. They also provide an alternative to costly, time-consuming emergency room care for sicknesses that could have been prevented if basic health care services had been available. For example, a 2010 Health Affairs report pointed to cost saving potential, finding that up to 27% of emergency department cases could be seen in urgent care; such a transition would generate up to $4.4 billion in annual cost savings. A more recent white paper from the Urgent Care Association of America estimated that the cost savings of using urgent care centers versus emergency departments could amount to as high as about $18.5 billion per year.  For these reasons, rising rates of utilization are leading to substantial profits for providers, which is in turn fuelling further expansion. More than half of US centers have been open more than 5 years, however, new centers continue to open and existing UCCs continue to expand.

Kalorama's report, The U.S. Market for Urgent Care Centers, contains information on patient visits to centers, locations and expected growth in the urgent care center industry, as well as other statistics.  The report can be found at:

For more Kalorama reports on healthcare visit:  

About Kalorama Information

Kalorama Information, a division of, supplies the latest in independent medical market research in diagnostics, biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare; as well as a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased through Kalorama's website and are also available on and

We routinely assist the media with healthcare topics. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and our blog on our company website.  

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Press Contact:  
Bruce Carlson
212 807 2262


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SOURCE Kalorama Information
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