CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Sept. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- It's no surprise that urgent care centers and other retail clinics are gaining in popularity and growing in reach. With convenient locations, extended hours and the ability to serve walk-in patients, these facilities offer a quick and easy way for patients to receive care. However, patients may experience a communication disconnect after an urgent care or emergency department visit, according to a new study of over 1,700 U.S. adults who have primary care physicians. The study was conducted online earlier this year by Harris Poll on behalf of Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Despite the convenience of a retail health clinic or urgent care center, do patients actually follow up with their primary care physician after a visit? It turns out, of adult patients (defined as U.S. adults ages 18 and older who have a PCP), fewer than half followed up with their PCP after a recent visit to an urgent care center (36 percent) and only one in four followed after a retail health clinic visit (25 percent)—despite "following up with your PCP" being a standard among discharge instructions.
And the disconnect runs even deeper, as nearly two-thirds of adult patients (65 percent) assume PCPs automatically receive information about their patients' urgent care visits. That is not always the case.
The survey also explored other areas of the patient-PCP relationship, such as why patients seek alternative care options. In fact, two-thirds of adult patients (66 percent) say they would seek health care services from an alternative source, such as an urgent care center, rather than their PCP due to scheduling issues. Among those patients, the top scheduling sticking points they cite are:
- The inability to schedule a non-urgent appointment within the same week (43 percent)
- The inability to schedule an appointment outside of normal business hours (42 percent)
- The inability to schedule a checkup appointment within the same month (39 percent)
- The inability to get through on the phone to make an appointment (39 percent)
"By focusing on building long-term relationships based on open communication, working to ensure we are delivering high-quality and cost-effective care with a personal touch, PCPs will be better positioned to see their practices thrive," said Susan Croushore, President and CEO, Mercy Health System. "Here at Mercy, we recently consolidated our three acute-care facilities' individual call centers into one to better address issues patients face with scheduling appointments."
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll from February 1–3, 2017 among 2,175 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,735 have a primary care physician. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Darrah Foster at Anne Klein Communications Group at 856.242.9207 or [email protected].
About Mercy Health System
A diverse, integrated system providing comprehensive healthcare services, Mercy Health System, a part of Trinity Health, comprises three acute care hospitals, a home healthcare organization, several wellness centers, physician practices, a federal PACE program, and co-owns the Gateway Health managed care plan. With 250 primary care and specialty physicians, Mercy Health System is a teaching community health system affiliated with Drexel University School of Medicine and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). As a mission-driven regional health ministry, we will become the recognized leader in improving the health of our communities and each person we serve. We will be known as the most trusted health partner for life. To learn more about Mercy Health System, visit www.mercyhealth.org.
SOURCE Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania