Have you ever wondered how much does it cost to start an urgent care? These facilities as well as walk-in health centers have been exponentially growing in popularity over the last few decades due to their convenience, efficiency, and value to the customer. If you have ever considered starting your own, or have wondered how to start an urgent care clinic, it is important to understand the history of these businesses and the role they play in society today.
Below are some key pieces of information about urgent care centers to keep in mind before launching your own startup business.
A Look Back on the Industry
According to Immediate Clinic, the first urgent care locations were opened in the 1970s by physicians who found there was a need for walk-in clinics for patients in serious need of medical attention. Retail medical clinics, which DocuTAP, a healthcare software and medical company, states are more focused on addressing quicker, less complex needs, were first established in the United States in the year 2000. The first retail clinic was located in Twin Cities, Minnesota.
While addressing different patient needs, both urgent care facilities and walk-in retail medical clinics aim to offer patients convenient and efficient treatment. Since the establishment of retail clinics in 2000, they have only grown in popularity with an estimated 2,800 clinics operating in 2018. Today, CVS’s brand MinuteClinic is among the most popular with more than 1,000 clinics currently operating.
The Urgent Care Business Model and Why it Works
Two main reasons why these health options have exploded in popularity are that they save patients time and are cost effective. On average, data shows costs of treatment at retail clinics is approximately 30% to 40% less expensive than similar treatments at a doctor’s office. On top of that, approximately 19% of U.S. households reported visiting retail medical facilities in the last year. These two variables play off of each other because convenient hours and less expensive prices can inspire more patients to get checked out — increasing popularity while also keeping people healthy.
This is further shown in the market size of the industry. In 2016, the retail medicine market size was estimated at $1.4 billion with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 20% over the next six years, through 2025.
How Much Does it Cost to Start an Urgent Care?
It makes sense that the first question out of any executives mouth would be about the cost of starting an urgent care. According to DocuTAP, the general startup expenses include buildings, finding a location, real estate expenses, and salaries.
Adding everything up, DocuTAP estimated that it could cost as much as $1 million to start an urgent care facility, answering the question of how much does it cost to start an urgent care.
While costs might look high, it is important to remember that urgent care and retail medical facilities are a hot commodity, and serving a lot of patients well could create a profitable urgent care business. To succeed, it is important remember why patients are drawn to urgent care facilities and offer quality services that meet those needs.