Improved Patient-Provider Communication Needed Following Urgent Care Visits

HealthDay News — Patients and primary care physicians (PCPs) need to communicate better after urgent care visits, and patients value their relationships with their PCPs, according to research conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

In an online survey of 2175 US adults — 1735 of whom have a PCP — patients reported experiencing a communication disconnect after an urgent care or emergency department visit. Fewer than half of adult patients followed up with their PCP after a recent visit to an urgent care center or a retail health clinic (36% and 25%, respectively) despite this being among the discharge instructions. Sixty-five percent of adult patients assume that PCPs automatically receive information about their patients’ urgent care visits, although that is not always the case.

In addition, the personal bond between PCPs and their adult patients was reported to be strong, with 59% of US adults believing that their PCP cares about them and 49% believing that their PCP knows them personally. Overall, 75% of adult patients know the name of their PCP, while few adults know the name of a care provider who most recently treated them at a retail health clinic, urgent care center, or free clinic (15%, 12%, and 8%, respectively).

“The research findings show that both patients and physicians need to work harder to communicate to take advantage of the benefits offered by the more personal relationships patients can enjoy with their PCPs,” William J. Strimel, DO, president of the Mercy Physician Network, said in a statement.

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Patients discontended while primary care physicians left in the dark [press release]. Conshohocken, PA: Mercy Health System. Accessed October 23, 2017.