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Consumer demand drives boom in urgent care centers, study finds

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 22 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4632
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Consumers looking for quick, convenient care are driving a boom in urgent care centers in the United States, a study has found.1

However, the centers primarily serve well off, insured patients with few providing care in underserved areas, the study showed.

Over the past two decades more than 9000 urgent care centers have opened across the country, offering care on a walk-in basis for common acute ailments and minor injuries during business hours, in the evenings, and at weekends. But relatively little is known about their effect on costs and the quality of care.

In the qualitative study, researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change, a …

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