In recent years, the healthcare industry has witnessed a significant shift in the way medical services are delivered, with a growing demand for urgent care facilities.
Urgent care centers have emerged as a vital component of the healthcare ecosystem, providing accessible and timely care for non-life-threatening conditions. Patient volume has soared 60% since 2019, according to the Urgent Care Association, and this change has fueled a surge in demand for urgent care space in healthcare real estate.
Data Bridge Market Research reports that the urgent care market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 5.35% between 2022 and 2029, which will likely fuel further real estate development. Understanding the factors driving this ongoing expansion can help ensure the seamless delivery of new supply and guide investors and participants within the healthcare industry.
“One of the primary factors driving the demand for urgent care space is the convenience and accessibility these centers offer. Urgent care facilities are often strategically located in neighborhoods and high-traffic retail areas, making them easily accessible to those in the surrounding community.”
Convenience and Accessibility
One of the primary factors driving the demand for urgent care space is the convenience and accessibility these centers offer. Urgent care facilities are often strategically located in neighborhoods and high-traffic retail areas, making them easily accessible to those in the surrounding community.
Just recently, Zocdoc, the online healthcare appointment booking service, added urgent care centers to its marketplace to meet the rising demand for medical services at “one of the fastest-growing segments of healthcare,” per Fierce Healthcare. The company also reports that in-person urgent care appointments are growing 80% on their platform month-over-month.
With extended operating hours, including evenings and weekends, urgent care centers cater to the needs of patients who cannot wait for a traditional primary care appointment or do not require emergency room care.
This convenience factor has led to an increasing preference for urgent care centers over emergency departments, in turn driving the need for more dedicated real estate space.
Growing Patient Demand & Shifting Demographics
Patients are increasingly seeking more convenient and cost-effective alternatives to emergency room visits for non-emergency medical issues. Urgent care centers bridge this gap by providing prompt, high-quality care for conditions such as minor injuries, infections, and common illnesses.
Changing demographics, including an aging population, have also amplified the need for urgent care facilities. Older adults often require immediate medical attention for age-related conditions, and urgent care centers provide a convenient solution. Around 90% of seniors intend to remain in their current homes as they age, meaning urgent care will likely be their first stop in the event of a medical issue, rather than receiving care at a nursing home.
Additionally, the number of uninsured Americans has continued to drop over the last few years. The expansion of health insurance coverage has resulted in more individuals seeking medical care, thereby straining traditional primary care settings. Urgent care centers offer a viable alternative for non-emergency cases, further fueling the demand for space to accommodate these centers.
Fluctuating Healthcare Delivery Model
The transformation of the healthcare delivery model has also contributed to the rise in demand. The industry is shifting towards value-based care and population health management, focusing on preventive and primary care services.
Urgent care centers play a crucial role in this model by relieving the burden on emergency departments and primary care clinics, allowing them to concentrate on more complex cases. As healthcare systems embrace this model, the need for dedicated urgent care space becomes evident, leading to increased investments in real estate specifically designed for these centers.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, urgent care facilities are expected to play a vital role in providing accessible and timely care. The increasing demand for urgent care space underscores the importance of strategic planning and collaboration between healthcare providers, developers, and investors to meet the evolving needs of patients and ensure the efficient delivery of healthcare services.