- The global urgent care center market has a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% and will hit $26 billion by 2023 — up from $20 billion this year, a new MarketsandMarkets report predicts.
- Driving growth are lower costs and shorter wait times, growing investment in the sector, an aging population and strategic partnerships between urgent care providers and hospitals.
- Acute care is expected to be the largest market segment this year, fueled by high numbers of influenza sufferers and the quick access to care.
Other major market segments include trauma and injury treatment, physical exams, immunizations and other services — e.g., diagnostics, telemedicine and occupational medicine.
The current majority of urgent care facilities are in the corporate-owned segment, followed by physician-owned and hospital-owned. North America holds the largest share of the urgent care market today and is expected to lead other markets in annual growth rate over the forecast period. Major U.S. players include Concentra, MedExpress, American Family Care, NextCare Holdings, FastMed Urgent Care and CityMD.
The urgent care market is definitely hot. Between 2007 and 2016, private insurance claim lines for services provided in urgent care shot up 1,725%, according to data collection firm FAIR Health. During the same period, emergency room claims grew 229%.
FAIR Health’s findings underscored a huge growth in alternative care settings generally, but especially in urgent care centers, retail clinics and telemedicine.
The data and market forecast are not surprising as insurers, such as Anthem, drive more care to cheaper settings than traditional, high-cost ERs.
The trend is spurring M&A activity in the urgent care space. In December, MedExpress and Walgreens Boots Alliance announced plans to launch a series of urgent care centers attached to Walgreens stores. Eleven of these centers, which also offer employer health services, have already opened in five markets — Virginia, West Virginia, Dallas, the Twin Cities and Omaha, Nebraska.
And just last month, CityMD said it was buying Long Island-based STAT Health, a competitor with 12 walk-in urgent care centers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. CityMD has seen 43% growth over the past year.