About Indigo Urgent Care

By Derek Lakin
Published on: Dec 12, 2017

With fourteen Puget Sound locations open from 8 am to 8 pm every day of the year, along with amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, docking stations, coffee, and bottled water in their lounge, Indigo Urgent Care promises to deliver a different level of walk-in care that involves a personal touch.

In other words, their website frequently emphasizes that everything they do revolves around their patients, including extended hours, clinics throughout the Seattle/Tacoma region, and care that respects your time and caters to your needs.

As such, whether you need to relax, recuperate, rest, run, play, or work, Indigo claims to “serve as your personal health care concierge” whose provider team will do whatever it takes to help you feel your best. On top of this, they’re a not-for-profit organization focused on giving back to the local community.

Indigo’s right; your time is valuable. But are they necessarily the right urgent care provider for you?

How Urgent Care Providers Like Indigo Work: Will You Save Time?

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, there are currently more than 7,300 urgent care centers in the U.S. In fact, these facilities have become so popular that Merriam-Webster added the term ‘urgent care’ to the dictionary this year, which is defined as:

"Medical care provided for illnesses or injuries which require prompt attention but are typically not of such seriousness as to require the services of an emergency room."

In other words, these facilities are intended to address non-emergency concerns. As outlined on the Indigo website, examples of situations that most urgent care facilities cannot handle include chest pain, difficulty breathing, seizures, severe abdominal pain, severe headaches or burns, motor vehicle accidents, and sudden blurred vision.

Outside of this important distinction, urgent care facilities work a lot like traditional emergency rooms. Patients are admitted at a front desk, fill out paperwork and provide insurance information (more soon), and then are seen by a physician.

However, although many urgent care facilities advertise that they can see and treat patients in less time than traditional ERs, the data doesn’t seem to show a massive distinction in wait times.

For example, the Becker’s above reports that, “92 percent of urgent care centers maintained wait times of 30 minutes or less in 2015,” with the UCAOA telling us that average patient throughput (the time from arrival to discharge) is less than 60 minutes.

Obviously, these are fantastic numbers. However, the Centers for Disease Control reported back in 2014 (the most recent date for which numbers were available) that the median wait time for hospital emergency departments was about 30 minutes, with a 30 percent higher throughput, at slightly more than 90 minutes. In other words, you might not be seen much faster at an urgent care facility, but you could be out the door faster.

Granted, this is related to your time. Next, compared to an ER visit, let’s find out if Indigo Urgent Care could help you save money.

The Cost of Indigo Urgent Care: Do They Accept Insurance?

Just like any other medically-related situation, exactly what you pay for a trip to the emergency room or urgent care facility—Indigo or otherwise—depends on dozens of important factors like your condition, the specific facility you visit and what their overhead costs are, and whether or not you currently have insurance coverage (to name just a few).

With this said, The Atlantic’s Lindsay Abrams reported back in 2013 that the average cost of treating a urinary tract infection (UTI) at the ER was $2,598, whereas The Annals of Internal Medicine reported in 2009 that this same treatment averaged about $156 at urgent care facilities. Aggregate quality scores and prescription costs were also noted to be better with urgent care.

From a payment perspective, the Indigo website emphasizes that they participate in a wide variety of commercial health insurance plans, Medicaid managed care plans, and Medicare Advantage plans. However, they do not accept discount card programs.

If you have questions, they recommend contacting your insurance provider directly. For questions about Indigo’s specific services, you’ll need to contact the closest facility to you.

What Can We Learn from Indigo Urgent Care Reviews?

We found dozens of patient reviews for Indigo’s various urgent care locations on Yelp, who collectively gave the company an average rating of about four stars. There, common compliments appeared to revolve around helpful, friendly staff; short wait times, quality facilities, and effective care.

On the other hand, frequent complaints revolved around receiving a lower level of care/empathy than expected. In many of these instances, a representative responded in order to find a solution.

From a corporate perspective, Indigo Urgent Care is part of the MultiCare Health System, a network comprised of five hospitals in the Puget Sound region and two in the Inland Northwest, including:

  • Allenmore Hospital
  • Auburn Medical Center
  • Good Samaritan Hospital
  • Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Network
  • Tacoma General Hospital
  • Deaconess Hospital
  • Valley Hospital

Let’s carry this thought over to the next section.

How Can You Decide If Indigo Is the Right Urgent Care Facility?

At the beginning of this article, we discussed how many urgent care facilities there are across the U.S. But other than the amenities provided in their waiting rooms, are there any other criteria you can use to decide if Indigo will deliver the best care?

According to a 2013 article from Becker’s, “ninety-five percent of urgent care center physicians do not have and do not require hospital-admitting privileges.” After all, “fewer than 4 percent of patients needed a transfer to an emergency room in 2012.”

However, because the MultiCare network is comprised of the seven hospitals mentioned in the previous section, some of Indigo’s physicians might be able to refer you or a family member should you need additional care after visiting an urgent care location.

In addition to their focus on patient support and attentive care, select locations also offer online scheduling, using MyChart (or by manually entering information, if patients choose). This way, you can schedule an appointment in advance to reduce your wait time even more.

Outside of factors like these, from a high-level perspective, there isn’t a whole lot to distinguish one urgent care facility from another, so you’ll want to ‘zoom in’ and focus on the specific location you’re considering:

  • Do they have a mostly positive online customer reputation?
  • Are there frequent complaints worth noting?
  • Is the company/location listed with the Better Business Bureau?
  • When you contact their office, are they friendly and eager to help? Or, do they seem like they can’t be bothered?

Doing this research in advance could potentially help you get a better idea of what you’re likely to experience once you become a patient.

Our Final Thoughts About Indigo Urgent Care

There are various advantages inherent in the urgent care business model, including faster treatment times, more attentive care, and frequently, meaningfully lower costs than a hospital emergency room.

And compared to much of the competition, Indigo appears to place extra emphasis on the patient experience, including amenity-filled lounges. They’re also part of the larger MultiCare Health System, including seven regional hospitals, and seemed to come with mostly positive patient feedback at the time of our research.

Does this mean they’re sure to be your urgent care provider of choice? While the right medical care for you depends on far too many factors to account for, they certainly seem like a solid contender if you’re looking for non-emergency medical services.

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