Clinics & Urgent Care Centers

Urgent Care Center

  • An urgent care center is a convenient option when illness strikes outside of regular office hours, urgent care offers an alternative to waiting for hours in a hospital Emergency Room. Acute care represents the majority of what Urgent Care Medicine specialists do.
  • With healthcare trending toward value-based care, more patients are seeking care at urgent care centers as well as retail clinic.
  • Urgent care is projected to increase approximately 6 percent each year.6
  • In the United States, there are approximately 8,285 urgent care centers as of June 2018.
  • Each year, urgent care centers provide care for nearly 160 million U.S. patients.7
  •  Urgent care centers often serve as an alternative to emergency rooms, with physicians on staff and more advanced equipment such as an X-ray and EKG on hand.

Retail Clinics

  • Retail clinics see more than six million patients annually.7
  • Retail clinics are usually run by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant in a single exam room and focus on addressing primary care needs.
  •  The healthcare industry’s trend toward convenience and consumerization offers promising improvements to not just the way care is delivered, but the quality of that care as well. However, the country’s approximately 2800 retail clinics will not be able to provide all the services traditional healthcare facilities can.8
  • Prices averaging 30 to 40 percent less than a doctor’s office visit and up to 80 percent cheaper than a visit to the emergency room.9
  • Retail Clinics treat a wide variety of minor health issues.
  • Retail clinics are medical clinics located in pharmacies, grocery stores, and “big box” stores, such as Walmart. These clinics offer extended weekend and evening hours, walk-in availability, and short wait times. Many visits to retail clinics are in the evenings and weekends, when primary care offices are not available.
  • Major retail clinics include: CVS Health (1,100 Minute Clinics), Walgreens (400 Healthcare Clinics), Walmart (Care Clinics), Bellin Health (FastCare), Rediclinic (Rite Aid), Kroger (The Little Clinic), Aurora Health Care (QuickCare Clinic).
  • Three-fourths of retail clinics are located in the Southern and Midwestern United States.
  • Retail clinics typically serve younger adults who do not have a primary care provider.
  • Retail clinics are becoming relatively large users of point-of-care (POC) tests.
  • Larger chains are acquiring small clinics as consolidation within the industry.
  • For a select group of conditions, retail clinics deliver care of equivalent quality compared with other settings.10

1 2015 National Emergency Room Inventory- USA:
2 Moore BJ (IBM Watson Health), Stocks C (AHRQ), Owens PL (AHRQ). Trends in Emergency Department Visits, 2006–2014. HCUP Statistical Brief #227. September 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
3 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Hospital-Based Emergency Care: At a Breaking Point. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
4 CDC. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2015 Emergency Department Summary Tables.
6 Alkon, C. What’s behind the growth of urgent care clinics? Medical Economics. Aug 29, 2018.
6 Urgent Care Association of America.
7 Becker’s ASC Review.
8 Wade, E. Investigating the Rise of Retail Clinics. Clinician Today. April 11, 2018.
9 Retail Clinic Visits Increase Despite Use Lagging  Among Individually Insured Americans. Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Health of America Report #10. 2016.
10 The Evolving Role of Retail Clinics. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2016.