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.
When you make the decision to go out on the limb and start an urgent care, there is a lot to consider. Not only is it developing a business plan, but it is also providing excellent care with quick turnaround time.
As with any startup, when you first start the process, things are exciting. You finally get to see years of hard work come to fruition and set plans in motion. However, many people step into the urgent care industry without fully realizing that it takes a person with certain qualities to make sure your urgent care is headed in the right direction. Here are 2 qualities we believe set apart the best from the average startups.
The Ability To Adapt
Humanity has been able to survive because of our ability to adapt and evolve. What is going to set you apart from other urgent care startups is the capability to change at a moments notice and make circumstances work in your favor. While there is plenty to plan for and get a head start on, there will always be inevitable roadblocks that will require quick thinking.
As a startup owner, your leadership skills will be honed and sharpened, especially in this one particular area. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to your urgent care startup. Roles and titles are more fluid, people fill in gaps where needed, and you learn to push the limits of conventional business styles. Even though adapting to circumstances can be difficult, it will ultimately result in your team becoming more efficient and productive.
The Power to Focus
During the early stages of your startup, you will need an immense amount of focus in order to make sure your urgent care is staying on track. Prioritizing what your business goals are, and being reminded of those goals daily, will help you know what tasks are worth doing.
Research suggests that the art of focus is not necessarily the absence of distractions, but the ability to quickly and precisely say “no” to other things that will try to take up your time. As an early startup, achieving all the goals you may have will come with time, but having the capability to say “no” to work that does not ladder up to your business goals will help you sharpen your focus skills.
Here at UCC, our main priority is making sure that your urgent care venture is a success. Call us today for a free consultation!
Urgent care has proven to be a convenient and useful healthcare option for individuals and their family members. That said, urgent care consumers value providers that specialize in the type of care they are seeking. The movement has resulted in the upsurge of specialized urgent care models. Pediatric urgent care is one specialized model that is rapidly growing in both popularity and numbers as parents seek out providers that understand pediatric patients.
Why is pediatric urgent care flourishing and rapidly growing, you ask? Pediatric urgent care has gained momentum as parents pursue care from clinicians with extensive knowledge geared toward their children. Pediatric urgent care staff members have additional training and resources in treating and interacting with children. The clinic is also designed to be inviting and visually appealing for children, resulting in a more comfortable visit for patients and their families.
So what can be done to better equip a current urgent care for the pediatric patient? There are many resources for educating providers and other staff members on pediatric topics:
- Attend industry conferences, such as the Urgent Care Association Fall Convention, which includes a special pediatric urgent care track to gain knowledge on new pediatric practices.
- The Society for Pediatric Urgent Care and PM Pediatrics host separate annual conferences that provide valuable and informative sessions on new equipment, instruments, processes and more.
- Encourage providers to educate themselves on pediatric matters by attending CME sessions and programs.
- Create standing operating procedures for the pediatric patient to build confidence in staff and maintain consistency in the patient experience.
- Design one or two exam rooms for children, such as adding cartoon clings or painting a mural on one wall, to help the pediatric patient feel at ease in the center.
- Finally, strategic marketing to local schools and places that families frequent will spread the word that your urgent care is prepared to treat adult and pediatric patients equally.
Continually pursuing knowledge and training for pediatric patients will help set your urgent care apart.
One of the most common reasons that people visit an urgent care center is for urinary tract infections. While the procedure for testing and treating a UTI is simple, urgent care centers must be properly prepared to handle urine collection for UTI’s in order for labs to run an accurate test.
So what can you, as a hopeful urgent care start up or expansion, do to prepare? Here are some tips and tricks to guarantee clean urine sampling for a patient who has a UTI.
1 – Purchase the required supplies and set a standard process.
- Be sure to have supplies on hand, such as sterile urine cups and benzokonium wipes to provide an uncontaminated test result.
2 – Make sure Urine collections are uncontaminated during the collection
- The best way to insure that all urine collections for UTIs are not contaminated by surface bacteria is to provide clear communication between staff members and patients. This can take shape in many forms, such as written guidelines or procedures. Note: There is a difference between male and female urine collections, for additional resources, click here.
3 – Proper Urine Storage
- If the collected urine is going to arrive at the lab resource the same day, it is okay to store at room temperature. However, if it is going to be longer than 12 hours before the specimen arrives at the lab, store in a refrigerated area. This will make sure that all urine specimens are properly tested with the best results.
As the experts in urgent care, we are here to help you! Whether you want to start your own urgent care or expand, we will make sure you are winning every step of the way.