During the last two decades’ emergency care units are emerging all around the state. And the number of urgent care units is rising day by day. The flaws regarding patients approach initial and urgent care have broadened. Emergency care units are established and spread out to solve this issue. Faults of primary care suppliers and revolution in initial care services (rare night and holiday availability) are the causes of patients transfer to emergency caution. The extraordinary charges of emergency health care units for non-urgent matters likewise make the patients search for a substitute with low cost and better health care facilities. Indemnity programs and the companies who reward the gratuities are at extreme to help patients locating for emergency care units instead of guiding them towards urgent care units of area. Moreover, as much of the charges tolerated by the patient, a cheap rate choice of emergency care is the definite preference.
At this time there present more than 9000 urgent care units in US only, they are going to be prevalent with every passing day. But the last record of ambulatory care has participated as a discreet but continuous rise in centers. It is believed that the perception of urgent care come into being at the beginning of the 1970s, due to the launching of separate health centers by several doctors to provide facilities to patients for severe but non-urgent health care. This trend became more corporate in the mid of 1980s before a quick drop in later years. A lot of reasons have been submitted for this rapid drop. Several of the former substitute care units were supervised by doctors who were not expert in services required for an urgent care centers, and excellence matters were also distinguished. But this does not mean that urgent care centers diminish completely, it was just a wrong beginning for this task (Weinick, Bristol, & DesRoches, 2009).
There are several definitions present for explaining ambulatory care such as delivery of spontaneous medical care, easy to access for anyone at any time, advanced facilities essential for initial care, and very low charges. Urgent care offers real constant care to spontaneous patients. Some offer arranged schedules and initial care, but such care centers are not available at any time and don’t show any difference from the normal emergency care system. Increased availability when likened with primary care centers also exemplify emergency care. On time x-ray, arterial treatments and solutions, healing of cuts, external body deletion, Elementary fracture treatment, and medications for boil and blisters are common. Further than normal CLIA-waived tests, for example, sore throat, and urine test, emergency care units normally do blood work. This contributes to complete blood tests and main metabolic sections. In some urgent care centers facilities of CT-scan, ultrasound and MRI are also accessible. Some studies have revealed that for similar medical issues the charges in urgent care, is normally between one-third or one-tenth the expenses of emergency treatment of patients (Sean McNeeley., 2012).
Definition of terms
The care needed by a patient urgently to prevent a serious health related problem. It is a facility which is provided outside an emergency room of the hospital.
The care provided to a patient in life-threatening conditions to save patients life.
A large number of Americans try to get non-urgent care in urgent care centers, where they usually experience several hours’delay. Urgent care units and marketing health care centers have developed as substitutes to the emergency care centers for non-urgent care. It was evaluated that 13.7 to 27.1% of all urgent care visits would occur at one of these substitute centers, having a possible cost reserves of about 4.4 million per year. The main situations that could be doctored at such centers comprise severe infection, disorders, anxieties, and fractures. It is proved that patients choose such care centers for their safety. But more research is mandatory to make sure that same superior care is delivered at ambulatory care units and marketing health hubs parallel to emergency units (Grumbach, Keane, & Bindman, 1993). Although thousands of urgent care units are present in America still there is a need for more care units which can work as urgent care centers. As these centers are important to provide care due to delivery of spontaneous medical care, easy to access for anyone at any time, advanced facilities essential for initial care, and very low charges. Urgent care offers real constant care to spontaneous patients so more care units are required to be arranged by the government according to the needs of the population.
In the US, centers of urgent care gained fundamental importance in previous few decades and extremely proliferated in the past few years. Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA), declared that UC is provided to patients by walk-in outside the emergency departments of hospitals. The importance of UC centers increased in the Lamar County due to overcrowding in emergency centers of different hospitals. A criterion was set by UCAOA about the minimum facilities provided at a UC center in the County. It involves:
- Provision of acute periodic care for some common medical disorders
- Unscheduled appointments of patients on walk-in basis
- Extended working hours
- On-site X-ray amenities
- Provision of some advanced procedures such as casting and stitching of wounds.
Instead of the criteria set by the UCAOA, the quality of health care is extremely poor in the Lamar County. On the other hand, patients are unaware of the illness and run to emergency departments of hospitals. Due to lack of knowledge about illness, the rate of preventable hospital admissions is very high in the Lamar County which can be decreased by increasing awareness among patients. From total 1000 enrollments in hospitals, 70 admissions are preventable, which can be treated in an urgent care unit or a community clinic. There is a need to improve the facilities in the urgent care units and to increase awareness among patients about using the facility of urgent care centers.
Problem statement (Purpose of the Problem)
Launching of separate health centers by several doctors to provide facilities to patients for severe but non-urgent health care is common in US. Urgent care centers are a facility provided to patients in different areas of America but still there is shortage of urgent care centers in US as compared to the population of the country. Different services are provided by UC to some patients but the need of the hour is to understand the perception of patients about this setting. The factors that affect patient satisfaction in UC needs attention and a lot of improvements can be made to improve the health facilities in the Lamar County. The cost of treatment in UC affects the quality of care needs to be studied in detail for better management and improved experiences of patients. A main advantage of UC for patients is the low cost treatments for their illness on an urgent basis. In several areas, due to awareness patients visit urgent care units instead of emergency rooms of hospitals and advanced facilities are provided by UC in different cities of Us. But in Lamar County the situation of health care is critical due to increased population and poor health facilities. This study will focus on the reasons of shortage of urgent care units in America as well as health care problems of the Lamar County. Furthermore, it will discuss the problems faced by patients due to the shortage of urgent care units in rural areas of the County.
The research about health care provisions has mentioned that a patient’s satisfaction with health service affects his decision of future use of the facility. According to previous literature, provision of best service and fulfillment of the demands of a patient in an appropriately professional way increases the chances of patients visit to health care center (Choi, Lee, Kim, & Lee, 2005). The research design of the study is a quantitative analysis of secondary data along with a survey of 300 patients who visited urgent care center in previous six months for the treatment. The survey results will be gathered to check the performance of urgent care centers through patient’s response. The survey will help to make a comparison of cost and excellence of health maintenance at ambulatory care hubs and hospitals. The perception of patients regarding facilities provided at health care centers in America and especially in Lamar county and further improvements will be discussed in detail.
Objectives of this Study
This study will address the main issues related to ambulatory care centers of Lamar County including the cost and quality of treatment of patients as compared to other health care centers such as hospitals. The satisfaction level of patients will be considered regarding urgent care and further required improvements in this setting will be discussed in detail. The study will highlight the issues and discrepancies related to ambulatory care in Lamar County and the shortage of urgent care centers in the rural areas of the County.
RQ1: How Urgent Care Facilities are provided in America?
RQ2: What is the level of satisfaction of Urgent Care Facility in rural areas of Lamar County, USA?
RQ3: How to improve the shortage of urgent care in the Lamar County, USA?
Significance of Study
The determination of the current study is to test the association between the urgent health care and patient’s satisfaction to this setting in the Lamar County of America. Along with this, the current study will discuss the effect of ambulatory care on the cost and quality of treatment of patients as compared to other health care settings in the county. It will address the issue of shortage of UC in rural areas of the County and its effects on the patients who need urgent care. The findings of the research will help to improve the amenities of urgent care to upsurge the patient’s confidence on these facilities. The study will help the ambulatory management to increase the fineness of their provisions to proliferate the patient satisfaction.
In the US, centers of urgent care gained ultimate importance in previous few decades and extremely proliferated in the past few years. These centers can be easily assessed as compared to other health care centers and deliver extended hours’ treatment facilities related to primary care. The services usually provided from 9.00 am to 9 pm seven days a week. Some UC deal patients throughout the week 24 hours a day, they offer medical support patients whenever out-patients need it. The main reason for patients choice of UC seems to be extended hours (Qin, Prybutok, & Prybutok, 2016).
The UC center visits are much inexpensive as compared to emergency rooms of hospitals which charge three to four times more than a UC. The issues related to hospitals emergency care units are increasing, and there is a need to solve them by scheming strategies from the health department. This situation can be dealt with several solutions which include increased funds for emergency care units, a further allocation of beds for patients who need hospitalization, establishing urgent care units neighboring emergency care centers for quick handling of less serious issues. Along with introduction of cost sharing for patients, rejecting patient’s admission to emergency care centers with the non-emergent problem(Yee, Lechner, & Boukus, 2013). Grumbach, Keane, & Bindman(1993)stated that it is required to permit substitute care unit to train itself to decide treatment for the patient by enforcing a great time worth on patients for getting services of emergency care units(Grumbach, Keane, & Bindman, 1993). According to Qin (2009), a definite strategy was required to expand ease of access to other initial care centers which deliver constant care for all severe and enduring diseases effectively, to change the mode noticed by experts and physicians towards emergency care centers. This scheme needed recognition of patients who use the urgent care centers for routine checkups because of the hurdles in the way to use initial care services, sensible recommendations of such patients to the centers having initial care services, and expanding the capability of initial care system to have room for poor patients(Qin, 2009).
The results of the current study will demonstrate the significance of urgent care for patients and the satisfactory behavior of patients towards ambulatory care units. The results will reveal that which areas of urgent care need further improvements. The recommendations of this research will assist the administration of ambulatory care units to develop improved plans for the future urgent care of patients.
Choi, K., Lee, H., Kim, C., & Lee, S. (2005). The service quality dimensions and patient satisfaction relationships in South Korea: Comparisons across gender, age, and types of service. Journal of Services Marketing, 19(3), 140-149.
Grumbach., K., Keane., D., & Bindman., A. (1993). A Primary Care and public emergency department overcrowding. American Journal of Public Health, 372-378.
Hong Qin. (2009). Links Among Perceived Service Quality, Patient Satisfaction and Behavioral Intentions in The Urgent Care Industry. The university OF NORTH TEXAS.
Qin, H., Prybutok, V., & Prybutok, G. (2016). Quantitative comparison of measurements of urgent care service quality. Health marketing quarterly, 33(1), 59-77.
Sean McNeeley., M. (2012). Urgent Care Centers: An Overview. American J journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(2).
Weinick, R. M., Bristol, S. J., & DesRoches, C. M. (2009). Urgent care centers in the US: findings from a national survey. , 9(1), 79. BMC health services research, 9(1), 79.
Weinick, R. M., Burns, R. M., & Mehrotra, A. (2010). Many emergency department visits could be managed at urgent care centers and retail clinics. Health Affairs, 29(9), 1630-1636.
Yee, T., Lechner, A. E., & Boukus, E. R. (2013). The surge in urgent care centers: emergency department alternative or costly convenience. Center for Studying Health System Change Research.