How Radiology Impacts the Urgent Care Industry

If you’re in the urgent care industry, chances are good that you provide radiology services. Urgent care has distinguished itself from walk-in retail health clinics by offering patients onsite radiology and lab services—upping the level of service available to patients with non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

We thought it would be interesting to see just how much urgent care business comes from offering radiology services. We looked at how often radiology is included in an urgent care visit and found that of all visits to urgent care, a radiology exam was performed more than 10 percent of the time.

10.7 percent of all urgent care visits included a radiology CPT code from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

You may find it surprising that when we looked all the visits that included an x-ray, only 3.29 percent had casts, splints, or strap procedures associated with that x-ray. While there is no way to be certain why so many of these x-ray visits were not coded with an additional procedure, it could indicate that many x-ray patients were referred to other providers, or that x-rays are often used to rule out the need for additional procedures.

In the upcoming issue of Urgent Care Quarterly, we look at the utilization of radiology in urgent care—like the data above. We hope this analysis of radiology in urgent care will provide insights into patient profiles, common injuries or illness indicating radiology, seasonality, and the most common radiologic modalities utilized by clinics. Informed by this data, you can use real-world benchmarks to assess your radiology program and adjust your practice and optimize your operations.

If you’re all in on radiology, or just considering it as new service line, check out the newest issue of the Urgent Care Quarterly, available soon. In the meantime, take a look our previous issues for urgent care trends.