- Digital health company Zocdoc said on Tuesday that it’s expanding its urgent care offering, allowing patients to find and book appointments at urgent care facilities in 22 states and more than 200 locations.
- The company said the number of urgent care facilities on Zocdoc has grown by almost 40% month over month, while urgent care bookings also have expanded by an average of 80%.
- The urgent care visits are on-demand, with 51% of urgent care appointments occurring within 5 hours of booking compared with 7% of non-urgent care appointments.
The expansion comes after the company has gradually bolstered its urgent care marketplace offering, according to Zocdoc founder and CEO Oliver Kharraz.
“We had dabbled in urgent care in the past, but given the growing demand — both from patients and providers — we are now focusing on this as one of Zocdoc’s fastest-growing categories,” Kharraz said in an interview.
Waiting time for a new-patient appointment averages 26 days, according to a survey last year from AMN Healthcare and Merritt Hawkins. At the same time, patient volumes at urgent care centers have climbed 60% since 2019.
The instant, on-demand nature of urgent care appeals to patients, according to Kharraz.
“Urgent care, with its prevalence and immediacy, resonates with patients today,” the CEO said. “If the national wait time to see a provider is 26 days, but patients know they can be seen within a few hours at an urgent care facility, that is a compelling value proposition.”
Kharraz sees younger patients seeking out urgent care as part of a broader care routine, combined with primary care visits.
“In looking at the demographic trends of urgent care utilizations, younger patients book at a higher rate; 40% of urgent care bookers were in their 20s, 33% in their 30s and 26% were over 40 years old,” Kharraz said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to growth in urgent care centers, with two to three times more patients seeking out care at urgent centers during the pandemic compared with “normal numbers” of new patients, according to the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine.