Data Exchange Rises in Importance for Urgent Care Providers

Linda Wilson | Health Data Management | August 25, 2016

As the healthcare industry transitions to value-based care, urgent care companies and health systems are forging formal business partnerships and then facilitating those relationships through the exchange of electronic patient data. The partnerships have advantages for both parties. Health systems want to add urgent care to their patient care continuum, while urgent care companies want to be included in local provider networks.

As patient care is increasingly provided under risk-based contracts, urgent care centers that are not part of provider networks will “lose more and more patients because the patients are going to go places that are in their network,” explains Tom Charland, founder and CEO of Merchant Medicine, a consulting and research firm based in Shoreview, Minn.

Therefore, urgent care companies “are afraid that with population health, they could be left on the outside looking in and have no participation,” says Charland, whose firm specializes in urgent care and retail medicine. Meanwhile, health systems want access to the patients who visit urgent care centers, particularly those who do not have an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician. “They have to have scale to have success in population health,” Charland says...