Healthcare Design - January/February 2016 - 36
ALTHOUGH IN EXISTENCE for decades, urgent
care has seen a resurgence in recent years,
thanks largely to a provider push toward
outpatient treatment and the hole that urgent
care stands to fill in the overall preventive health
puzzle. It also answers growing demand from
patients seeking more convenient care options
that don't require a trip to the ED or a primary
care physician, especially outside normal business hours.
And like any product, as demand grows, so
too have the models offered. Subsequently, the
definition of exactly what urgent care is-clinics staying open into the evening, standalone
sites in retail corridors, "micro hospitals" with
colocated service lines-remains anything but
clear. "We see a real push for getting services
out in the community universally, all the way
across big health systems down to independent groups," says Todd Robinson, executive
vice president and principal at ESa (Nashville).
"It's not something new, but it's really caught
And as urgent care continues to grow and
evolve, the spaces supporting it are taking
new shape, too. Answering requirements for
operational efficiency and meeting patient
expectations has risen to the top of designers'
to-do lists, all while creating a truly branded
and adaptable environment. It's a recipe that
project teams continue to refine as urgent care
comes closer and closer to pushing the ED
aside to become many healthcare institutions'
new front door.
For Erdman (Madison, Wis.), several clients, including
large, integrated health systems, are strategically deploying
urgent care facilities in their own markets as well as looking
to the model for growth nationally. For those systems in
particular, it's all about identifying and attaching new patients
to the organization, says Rustin Becker, executive vice president at Erdman. "It's kind of a land grab as systems become
more focused on population health. And the fundamental
piece to that is, how do you provide access?" Becker says.