The influence of an Urgent Care Center on the frequency of ED visits in an urban hospital setting

Am J Emerg Med. 2000 Mar;18(2):123-5. doi: 10.1016/s0735-6757(00)90000-7.

Abstract

We examined the effect of a visit to an Urgent Care Center (UCC) on emergency department (ED) use by patients with nonemergent complaints. A study population of 1,629 patients with no previous visit to a UCC were identified and served as their own controls. The ED and clinic usage 6 months before and 6 months after a UCC visit were examined. After the UCC visit for adults there was a 48% reduction in ED visits (P = .0001) and 49% increase in clinic visits (P = .0001). After the UCC visit for children there was a 28% reduction in ED visits (P < .005) and 65% increase in clinic visits (P = .0001). Moreover the majority of clinic visits occurred within 90 days after the UCC visit. There was no substantial change in patterns of hospitalization 6 months after the UCC visit. We conclude that UCC usage decreases nonemergent ED use without adverse effects of increased patient hospitalization.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / economics
  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Misuse / economics
  • Health Services Misuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Urban / economics
  • Hospitals, Urban / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Life Tables
  • New York City
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / economics
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / economics
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / economics
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors