Friday, August 28, 2015

Urgent Care

There are 168 hours in a week and illness or injury can strike during any one of them – not only in the 40-plus hours that physician offices are open for business.

There being no practical way for individual physicians to plan efficiently for the unplanned needs of their patients, they tend to fill their schedules ahead of time.

One result of scientific and technological advances is that a large and increasing portion of medical care can be adequately provided by people who are not physicians.

In light of all that, one might expect that the health care establishment would have some time ago made convenient provision for patients seeking out-of-hours care, much of which falls short of emergency status.  But physicians in private practice would have seen that as competition and so it didn’t happen.

There being no alternative, patients got their out-of-hours care from hospital emergency rooms.  The specter of competition prevented hospitals from making the service attractive.  Hours of waiting for service became common but patients in droves sought it anyway. 

As the health care economy grew, investors saw an opportunity and urgent care chains were developed and drug store chains began to offer health care services that could properly be offered by nurses.

Hospitals are finally beginning to become interested.  Partners Health Care, the Boston Hospital behemoth, has announced that it will begin opening urgent care centers throughout the Boston area.

When Partners moves, everyone pays attention.  So it seems that hospitals are finally responding to a need that they should have filled a long time ago.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

FREE counter and Web statistics from sitetracker.com