Hospitals Gamble On Urgent Care Clinics To Keep Patients Healthy

Kaiser Health News staff writer Jenny Gold reports: "When Stephen Wheeler realized he had an infected finger, he called his primary care doctor, who works for MedStar Health, a hospital and health care system. The doctor advised him to go to PromptCare, an urgent care clinic in a strip mall in the Baltimore suburbs. They are all about speedy service here at the urgent care center; Wheeler got in and out in 15 minutes. There's a timer outside of every exam room so the staff knows how long a patient has been waiting. Because Wheeler was already in the system, the clinic was able to pull up his electronic health records and find out if he was allergic to any medications or was due for any other care. Hospitals already own more than a quarter of the urgent care clinics in the U.S." (Gold, 11/8). Read the story.

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