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Visit volume is one of the most important performance metrics in urgent care, and the COVID-19 epidemic continues to affect this key metric in unexpected ways.
Because Experity is the preferred provider nearly 50 percent of urgent care clinics in the country, we have the data to share unique insights based on real urgent care data. Throughout the next few months, we’ll be sharing visit volume data with you, and our thoughts on the trends here on our blog each week.
To sum it up recent activity, while March started strong, with visit volume holding steady despite the slowing of flu season, clinics coast to coast began to see a dramatic drop in visits at mid-March. This drop coincides with the President’s declaration of a national emergency on March 13. During the second two weeks of March average visit volume dropped 46 percent. Urgent care clinics saw a low of 88 average visits per week in mid-April, but May is proving to show continuing improvement. We see visits trending up from 137 two weeks ago to 140 last week—an increase of about 2.19 percent.
We believe the lack of testing kits and supplies combined with the fear of exposure to the virus kept patients away from clinics, lowering visit volume at a time when most of us would expect a flood of new patients. Stay home instructions from state and local governments are keeping people home.
We also believe that clinics have an opportunity to fill the gaps in traditional care. While COVID-19 patients are best treated in hospital emergency rooms, urgent care can be the preferred choice for non-emergent illnesses and injuries.
With marketing efforts that remind patients you are still open, committed to their safety, and ready to treat them for non-coronavirus conditions, visit volume can rebound. Be sure your patients know that ignoring their symptoms and injuries can cause complications and more serious illness.
As testing supplies become more readily available, urgent care clinics can become the primary testing sites for COVID-19 related symptoms. The situation continues to evolve overall, and by communities, which will determine the best next steps for individual clinics.
We’ve compiled a social media kit, including plug-and-play posts and tips, that can help you communicate with patients locally, and support your community’s health. It’s free to download and easy to implement.
At Experity, we will continue to support your success with the resources you need in these uncertain times. We will update this blog every week to keep you informed with important information that can help you weather the pandemic. We will also be updating our homepage with a link to this page for easy updates.