If your urgent care center has been open and operating for some time, you may be considering expanding to additional locations. Whether you’re looking to simply bring in more revenue or compete with other centers in the area, enhancing your center through expansion can be a very rewarding process. But how do you know if you’re ready?
At Urgent Care Consultants, we want to help your center be the best it can be. Here are a few things to consider if you think you’re ready to take the next step.
Build a Strong Foundation
Before you can even consider expanding, you must make sure that your current centers are successful. We have seen many owners try to expand without first taking the time to improve problem areas in the first center, creating a situation where both centers are experiencing the same issues, affecting the business at a greater level.
The best thing you can do before expanding is to make sure that your center is running smoothly and efficiently, maximizing your revenue. Consider areas of improvement, such as revenue cycle management or staffing efficiencies, and get your center in tip-top shape.
Have a Clear Outlook on the Market
Even though you might think adding locations is a sign of healthy growth, a market analysis could prove that a second location may not be a viable option. An analysis could reveal that expanding would lead to more frustration if market trends or growth rate in your area are not ideal.
By looking at the market, you can create a strategic plan for growth, instead of jumping in head first and barely treading water. You will be able to look at success factors, potential profitability, and trends to gain better insight.
Know Your Competition
By studying and knowing who your direct competitors are, you will know what markets are over-saturated. You may see more chains popping up around you or a hospital getting ready to step into the market. If that’s the case, then selecting a location will be directly tied to where your competition is.
Location, Location, Location
Because urgent care centers are retail-based, you want an additional location to be strategically placed so that you gain more patient volume, without hurting your bottom line. Location is a key part in making sure that your urgent care is successful, so doing a deep dive into the market and finding a location that is convenient for patients will give you an advantage.
Making the decision to expand can be an exciting time, but making sure your urgent care is ready for the growth is important. Urgent Care Consultants can help you as you take the next step with your urgent care. If you are interested in learning more about expansion, contact us today!
Something we always advise clients to do is capitalize on marketing tactics that are directly tied to seasonality. Not only are you sending a relevant message into the market, but you are also helping your audience be more proactive.
As warmer weather approaches, this is the perfect time to begin marketing tactics focused on sports physicals for kids. Most schools require a physical in order for kids to participate in sports programs and parents are often left scrambling to get a doctor’s appointment. This is the perfect time to get your name out there for sports physicals, so here are two helpful tips to get you started!
Great marketing is about sharing the right message with the right people at the right moment. So when it comes to sports physicals, promoting them at prime locations, such as local schools and sports complexes, is what will help bring in more patients.
By creating a simple flyer promoting your center and emphasizing sports physicals, you are staying top of mind for patients and their families. Some urgent care centers have also offered a coupon for sports physicals, incentivizing people to use your services and encourage patient loyalty.
Another avenue to pursue would be making strategic partnerships in order to bring in new business. One idea would be to sponsor a team at a park district and having your name on the jerseys. That way not only are you at top of minds for the kids but also the parents. So as the need for physicals comes up, your center will be in the running when they go to make the decision.
We also suggest creating strategic partnerships with local coaches and athletic directors. Forming partnerships with local sports coaches could result in a stream of customers that were previously untouched by your reach. As students are in need of sports physicals, coaches and athletic directors will be getting your name out there, encouraging students to visit your center.
A walk-in, extended hours urgent care center can provide great benefit to busy families. With the right locations and strategic partnerships in place, promoting sports physicals is a great way to get new patients in the door and show families your dedication to the community.
Did you know that May 6-12 is National Nurses Week? Nurses have played a vital and essential role in the healthcare industry, as they interact with patients sometimes more often than doctors do.
The importance of nurses in pediatric urgent care centers also holds true. Because pediatric urgent care centers function a little differently than standard urgent care centers, we wanted to touch on the important role that nurses have in a pediatric urgent care setting.
When it comes to pediatric urgent care centers, there is a lot to take into consideration, even the staffing model. For standard urgent care centers, we initially advise owners to hold off hiring nurses and instead utilize medical assistants until they see a higher volume of patients.
However, because of the unique nature of pediatric urgent care centers, we recommend that owners bring on a pediatric-trained nurse from the very beginning. While MA’s are still necessary, nurses can take many of the burdens off physicians in the regular workday because of their specific skill set.
One skill set is being able to perform more duties than an MA can. Because nurses are legally able to do much more on their license than an MA is allowed to do, nurses end up playing a large role in pediatric urgent care. Whether it is administering various injections, taking vitals, or making phone calls, nurses will be able to take on more responsibilities and jump in when needed.
Another skill set that pediatric nurses will have is determining if an issue can be handled through a phone call or if the child needs to be brought in to the clinic to be seen. Most parents need assurance on whether a child needs to be seen by a physician or if advice can be provided over the phone. During this initial screening, nurses rely on their training and knowledge to determine what would be best for the child. While these tasks may seem small, they can add up to time away from the patients in the clinic for the provider if there is not a staff member who can help evaluate a patient’s needs.
The Right Attitude
In addition to having the right skill set for a pediatric urgent care setting, nurses who have been trained in a pediatric setting also have the right attitude and outlook when a patient comes in. Not only are staff members dealing with a sick child, but they are also dealing with the family. Most family members are afraid and worried when they come in, and if you do not have a staff member who knows how to interact with families in these situations, it can make matters worse.
By having experience dealing with families of a sick patient, nurses will be able to help calm nerves and gain trust quicker, helping physicians in the long run.
Whether you are looking to start a pediatric urgent care or thinking about ways to enhance your center, we believe that nurses are important to an urgent care and play a significant role in the health of patients.
Are you thinking about starting a pediatric urgent care? Let the experts in urgent care help you! Contact us today for a free consultation.
April 22-26 is patient experience week, where healthcare staff members are recognized for the impact they have on providing patients with an encounter that is above expectations. All over the world, there are providers and healthcare staff members who go above and beyond to make sure patients are not only taken care of but are given an experience that is positive and will be remembered.
Urgent care centers have become the focal point of the patient experience, as patients desire care that is convenient and prioritizes efficiency. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in the urgent care realm is the waiting room. Time and time again staff members are faced with helping patients as they wait to see a provider, and this in-between time is important to the patient. Studies show that patient satisfaction is heavily impacted by the time spent in the waiting room, as patients are anxious to see the doctor, but maybe don’t understand why they have to wait.
Here we wanted to provide some insight into making your waiting room the best it can be so that you, too, can provide extraordinary patient experiences.
Offer Online Registration
One of the keys to making sure wait times are minimal is implementing an online registration tool. One of the biggest hold-ups, when a patient walks through the door, is getting them registered and having the front office staff input information several times.
By implementing an online registration tool, you will be able to dramatically reduce the time patients spend in the waiting room. An online registration tool will allow patients to register while at home or in the clinic, so their time in the waiting room will be minimized while also increasing patient satisfaction. With a system that allows patients to do all registration themselves, it will cut back on data entry for office staff and reduce human errors, providing a seamless flow of data.
Communicate with Patients
Another complaint amongst patients is not knowing how long they will have to wait. Most patients expect a certain amount of wait time at an urgent care center, but waiting for an extended amount of time can drive down patient satisfaction. Research has shown that patients evaluate urgent care centers based on things they are familiar with, such as the time it takes to see their doctor, because patients sometimes don’t know how to evaluate a doctor based on skills alone.
Whether you are right on schedule or a little behind, communicating with patients about how long they will have to wait to see a provider will help alleviate some of the anxiety. Whether it is having a board showing patients in line ahead of them or verbally updating them, communicating the approximate wait time will help patients get through the waiting period and feel more at ease, ultimately helping boost patient satisfaction.
Make Your Waiting Room Welcoming
Even though you may not see it as a great opportunity for impacting the patient experience, creating an environment where a patient feels welcome will help provide a better experience while waiting.
A lot of urgent care centers have the typical setup but go above and beyond with comfortable seating and even a refreshment bar for the patients, serving coffee and water. These are simple gestures that could lead to lifelong loyalty of patients, contributing to an amazing experience.
Whether you are looking to enhance your center or thinking about starting urgent care from the ground up, Urgent Care Consultants can help you reach patients and provide an excellent experience.
When thinking about starting an urgent care, there are hundreds of tasks that need to get done. From finding the right location to finalizing the business plan, there is so much to think through and prepare for.
Making sure that your urgent care is actively preventing patient injury is important to the growth and sustainability of your center. March 10th-16th is Patient Safety Awareness Week, where the Institute for Healthcare Improvement brings the prevention of patient injury in healthcare environments to the forefront. Here are just two small ways your urgent care center staff members can help make sure patients are kept safe from sickness.
- Staff Hygiene
Even though hand washing and disinfecting is vital to the health and wellness of patients, there are still healthcare workers who don’t wash their hands as often as they should. A 2015 study found that just 40% of hospital workers followed hand-hygiene policies, putting patients at risk.
To help encourage regular hand disinfecting, keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer around your urgent care, even investing in personal hand-sanitizer for each staff member. Even though it might sound costly, studies have shown that when presented with more opportunities to use hand-sanitizer, staff members are more likely to be active in disinfecting their hands.
Another way to make sure that your urgent is taking all the necessary precautions for patient safety is to encourage staff members to get immunized. This is especially important during the flu season, as it helps stop the spread of the flu from patient to patient. Other immunizations recommended for healthcare personnel is Tdap, MMR (two doses), Hep B, and Varicella (two doses).
We believe that patient safety is the foundation of a great urgent care. By taking the necessary precautions with staff members, you can have peace of mind knowing that patients will be well cared for and will be well on their way to feeling better.