5 urgent care centers and counting: NightLight Pediatric continues to expand in Texas

A pediatrician and his patient
Urgent care clinics that focus just on children are growing, but there's still not a lot of competition. Getty/shironosov

Started by three women, a Texas company that provides urgent care for children has grown to five locations and is looking to expand.

NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care provides an alternative to the emergency room for parents when a child has a fever, ear infection, cough or other health issue that they want seen when their regular doctor’s office is closed, according to Forbes.

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Anastasia Gentles, M.D., had the idea for the business 10 years ago when she worked at Texas Children’s Hospital’s emergency room and saw children coming in for treatment there because they had no other option. She asked a friend, Zawadi Bryant, who had experience in the business world, to help and they joined with a third partner, Connie Cazares, to form the company and open the first clinic in Sugarland. Once pediatricians understood the clinics weren’t out to take their patients—the centers don’t offer well checks, inoculations and follow-up—they started to refer patients

While urgent care centers have become more popular and pediatric urgent care is growing, there are still not a lot of clinics that specifically cater to children. But retail clinics and urgent care centers are creating competition for doctors' offices. With changing patient attitudes, gone are the days when patients were willing to tolerate long waits, confusing bills and inconvenient appointment times to see a doctor.

Patients have greater expectations for service from their physicians' offices and are increasingly demanding immediate access, convenient hours and multiple ways to communicate with their doctors. Physician practices are faced with making the patient experience a high priority.

RELATED: Urgent care centers help Dignity Health boost patient access, better manage population health in Bay Area

Bryant, who took over as company CEO in January, said with five Houston-area locations now, it’s important there’s the same consistency in each clinic. “I want to be the McDonald’s of urgent care in our systems and processes,” she told Forbes. Two other Texas locations are in the works, the company has plans to expand into other states and expects to make $8.5 million in revenue this year.

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