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Insider News: Dec 19, 2019

Posted by AllWays Health Partners blog team on December 19, 2019

This week in Insider News we're sharing a few health trends, including an increase in urgent care centers, the use of digital health technology, and a decrease in patients with a primary care provider. Find out more about how industry change, new technology, and generational differences are driving these changes. 

We also want to share a link to this blog post on the New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) site written by our own Jennifer St. Thomas, VP of New Business Sales. In it, she highlights some shareable takeaways from the 2019 Best Practices Conference, where NEEBC recognized organizations that have implemented innovative, benefits-related best practices and demonstrated quantifiable results.

Note: AllWays Insider will be taking a short break from Insider News and our regular posts over the next two weeks. We will return on January 7 with new industry insights to share. Until then, we're wishing happy holidays to all our readers. See you next year!

Number of urgent care centers exceeds 9,200, driven by health systems, private companies

The number of urgent care centers rose 6% to 9,279 as of June of this year compared to 8,774 in 2018, according to the Urgent Care Association, which released a report on the industry’s rapid growth.

Unlike the early proliferation of urgent care centers opened by physicians, doctor practices and medical groups, the new wave is driven by health systems and investor-owned companies, the report indicates. Physician ownership that once accounted for 54% of the U.S. market in 2008 has dropped to 40% or less. By comparison, hospital ownership had jumped to 37% in 2014 compared to just shy of 25% in 2008.


19% of U.S. adults use wearable fitness trackers and health apps

Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare survey showed that 1 in 5 adults are currently using a health app and/or fitness tracker. Other findings include:

  • 45% of Americans have tried one or more digital health products.
  • Women younger than 50 are most likely to have tried a digital health product, while men older than 50 are least likely.
  • About half of adults in upper-income households are current or former users of fitness trackers and health apps. 
  • Suburban residents are more likely to use these products (35%). Fewer than three in 10 rural residents have used either one.
  • Of those who have tried fitness trackers, 76% find them very or somewhat helpful in meeting their health goals. 82% of health app users feel the same.

Number of patients with primary care providers dropped by 2% over a decade

In a little over a decade, the number of patients in the U.S. with primary care providers dropped by 2%, a study finds. Between 2002 and 2015, fewer Americans of all ages, except for those in their 80s, had a primary care provider, the researchers report.

The study team found that, overall, the proportion of U.S. adults with a primary care physician fell from 77% in 2002 to 75% in 2015. Among 30-year-olds, the proportion dropped from 71% to 64% in the same period. People with three or more chronic health conditions were an exception, and the proportion with a primary care doctor remained relatively stable.

Topics: Insider News

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