Believe it or not, walk-in medical facilities have not been a staple of modern society until the year 2000, at the same time Twin Cities, Minnesota opened its first retail medical clinic. And by the time 2016 arrived, over 2,000 walk-in facilities made their mark on the United States. Those numbers are not looking at stopping any time soon. In fact, they rose another 800 in the United States by the year 2018.
Clearly, they have been a boon to our modern society. But why? What makes them any different from your average hospital? Here, you will have the answers to both those questions.
Urgent Care Clinic VS Emergency Room
The words “urgent” and “emergency” have always been used interchangeably, and unfortunate aspect of the English language. But it is important to distinguish the two so there is no confusion.
“Urgent” is something that needs to happen by your earliest convenience. An “emergency” is something that needs to happen now. You drop what you’re doing. It may seem silly at first, but knowing the difference between the two helps to understand the difference between urgent care and an emergency room, because their difference matters when it comes to your medical needs.
Urgent care pulls in individuals that have been injured, but it is not life threatening. You sprained your ankle? Go to an urgent care facility. You are having abdominal pain? You see a specialist or doctor at an urgent care facility. If you are sick, then you make your way into an urgent care facility. These are all examples of urgent medical needs, but are not life threatening. Now, it is important to note that just because your medical need is an emergency, does not mean you shouldn’t visit an urgent care facility. In fact, urgent care facilities are equipped with the tools to handle a wide array of emergency needs. And if they do not, they have the means to get you to a medical facility that does.
Emergency rooms are exactly what it is: a room for emergencies. You were in an accident, like a broken bone or bleeding? Then you go to an emergency room immediately. Problems like fainting or bodily injury should always be met with emergency care.
What Does it Cost to Start an Urgent Care Clinic?
Starting any business is a path that many start, but never finish. Urgent care clinics are not any different.
Urgent care start up costs can be boiled down to three primary variables: location, size and real estate. That does not even begin to address the urgent care start up costs for construction, equipment, and supplies. That comes after you have first made a solid effort on the three primary variables.
Location is, of course, the most obvious. Where are you putting the urgent care center? Here is the thing, high-traffic areas tend to be more expensive to buy. At first, you may feel inclined to avoid those areas. Don’t. High-traffic areas mean your facility is easily accessible and easily sought for. How much traffic are you going to get if no one can even find the place on some obscure back road you decided on to save money? It is a higher upfront cost, but ends up paying off in the long run. Urgent care businesses are in it for the long run.
Next on your list is size. And it is really important that you remember this: always choose location over size. You may need to consult an outside professional to best determine your patient volume, especially if you already have a location in mind. It depends on the needs your facility wishes to exhibit.
Real estate arrangements is the last on your worries of urgent care start up costs. Your costs weigh greatly on all three, but with your real estate arrangements, you need to consider if you would like to lease, buy or build the facility. Each one offers its own pros and cons and can greatly affect your urgent care start up costs.