Five Tactics Urgent Care Clinics Need to Get Ahead – Part I

Last minute school physical. Strep test. Late night fever. Waking up with a red, itchy eye.

Urgent care clinics have grown to play an important role in our medical ecosystem. As reported by Forbes, recent strategic partnership and M&A activity among major healthcare companies demonstrate the corporate interest the urgent care industry.

Partly to “blame”, an increase in insured patients is stressing the the physician-patient ratio. As primary care and pediatrician wait times increase, there is a growing need for urgent care clinics.

Urgent care clinics are navigating this rapidly competitive, growing and changing healthcare industry. In the medical realm, it can be odd to think of other caregivers as competition, but at their core, urgent care clinics, physician practices, and hospitals are businesses. Businesses that must remain financially viable to provide care to patients.

As any business sector grows and sees success, investors will want to join in to capture their piece of the “pie”. We have seen the total number of urgent care clinics increase by 6% from 2016 to 2017 as reported by Urgent Care Association of America. Higher rates of expansion have been reported for larger urgent care providers. That’s quite a bit of increased competition!

What are successful urgent care clinics doing to stay ahead of their competition?
In this blog series, we will review the five ways urgent care clinics can optimize and grow their business. Today, we will hit on our first tip:

 

1// Cultivating a Patient-Centric Environment

Beyond location or good luck, what are you doing to ensure patients return to YOUR urgent care clinic?

Tactics used by leading urgent care clinics:

  • Patient centric services, such as telehealth (discussed in our next blog post)
  • Patient engagement via digital marketing
  • Patient loyalty and reputation management

Thriving urgent care clinics ensure they are responding to the needs of the community. This can include anticipating last-minute back to school and flu immunizations as well as introducing technologies that enable patients to be seen in even more convenient ways, such as telehealth. An integrated patient-centered mobile app helps engage your patients after they have left the clinic – encouraging repeat visits and allowing open communication.

 

2// Utilizing Modern EHR Technology

Our technology-centric culture has spurred exponential growth of healthcare technology creation and utilization. Due to the nature of urgent care clinics’ competitive and fast-paced environment, the need for the latest cloud-based EHR that harnesses available speeds and technologies is essential. Urgent care specific workflows and templates create efficiencies in an environment that is short on time.

Equally important is the ability for the urgent care clinic to access updated patient records from local practice and hospitals. Knowing what medicines a patient is taking is an important aspect of making accurate diagnosis. EHRs with a master patient index or Health System Patient Index (HSPI) can aid urgent care clinics in downloading and uploading patient information – saving time and contributing to the culture of patient-centric care.

Check back next week for our final three tips of how you can stay ahead of your competition.

If you are an urgent care center that could benefit from one of these five tips discussed in this series, we would love to talk to you about Azalea Health’s urgent care solutions. Complete the form below and an urgent care consultant will be in touch!