Slow Months of Urgent Care: Staying Profitable

Slow Months of Urgent Care: Staying Profitable

It’s no secret, urgent care centers thrive in the busy seasons. With summer months come times of slow patient volume. Most urgent care centers see higher patient volumes in the fall and winter months, as summer can often lead to lower revenue. 

Something we always are asked is what can centers do to stay profitable during the slow months and make sure they reach their revenue goals? Here are a few ways your center can optimize and stay on track. 

 

Re-evaluate Your Technology

 

One of the biggest drains on your finances is technology. While you might think your EMR and Practice Management are working for you, they could very well be working against you. If your system isn’t fit for urgent care or doesn’t have coding recommendations, you could be losing out on dollars per visit. 

We recommend using software made specifically for the urgent care setting. This not only will increase patient satisfaction, but it will also help your center reimbursements. You will have confidence in coding, while also helping patients receive excellent care.  

 

Additional Services 

 

Something we always recommend is adding additional lines of service to your urgent care. Not just any services though, services that are valuable to the clients that do not hurt your bottom line. A service that we often suggest is occupational medicine visits. This not only builds a relationship with the surrounding community, but it also brings in business. Occupational medicine services include work-related injury or illness treatment, pre-placement screening, drug and alcohol testing, and other types of exams and immunizations. This is a simple way to make your center more profitable, leading to greater revenue.  

Another option we suggest is offering primary care services. While this may take some time to put into place, it is a great way to build patient loyalty and volume. We believe that with the right resources in place, this can be a great option for centers who are looking to stay profitable and keep patients coming back.

 

Going to the Patients

 

If you are still not sure how to boost patient volume, going directly to patients to build awareness is always a great idea. Going out into the community to boost your brand is one of the best ways to attract new patients and keep your brand at top of mind. This can take place in a variety of forms, such as offering on-site medical aid for local fairs, carnivals, or company outings. This is a great opportunity to create strategic partnerships with local businesses and the community to help bring in more patients. 

Are you still looking for ways to optimize and enhance your center? Contact us today!

 

Slow Months of Urgent Care: Staying Busy

Slow Months of Urgent Care: Staying Busy

Every urgent care has been there: slow patient volume, and not enough work to keep staff members busy. Even though the slow months can often lead to frustration, it is also a perfect time to catch up on tasks that may get pushed to the wayside.

We want your staff members to be productive and keep your center running efficiently. Here are three ways you and your staff members can stay on top of things when there is low patient volume. 

 

Competency 

 

One of the first things on your task list during the summer months should be reviewing core competencies and CME for all staff members. While it may sound redundant, this is the perfect time to make sure your staff knows and understands how to respond in certain situations. 

This could be as simple as reviewing competency lectures or videos as a group or even passing out helpful information. 

Additionally, your center can also make sure all staff members are up to date on their CME. Whether you exclusively use a vendor for CME or allow staff members to find CME on their own, making sure that they are on their way to earning the right amount of credits is vital to the health of your center. Not only will help your staff members refresh their memory on urgent care best practices, but it will also secure consistent reimbursements from payers. 

If your center does utilize a specific vendor, then the summer is the perfect time to “clean” up records. This includes removing providers who are no longer there or making sure new hires are added to the system. We recommend you do this on a monthly basis, but use the summer for a nice catch-up.  

 

Policies and Procedures 

 

Policies and procedures in an urgent care, while an important aspect, tend to be in the background. It’s easy to create them at the beginning and forget about them, but the summer is the perfect time to make sure everyone is aware of all policies and procedures. 

We recommend setting aside time for each group of staff members, front staff, back staff, providers, etc., and walk through all policies and procedures for the center. Additionally, this may be a good time to see if anyone has any insight as to strategic changes in procedures so that you can continue to run as efficiently as possible. 

 

Taking inventory

 

Out of all the items to complete, taking inventory is probably the most common task to do when times are slow. In recent posts, we discussed taking inventory in order to make sure you have enough supplies for the summer months. When taking inventory, you can keep an eye out for supplies you might need during the fall/winter. With back to school and flu season right around the corner, taking inventory will help your center prepare for a season that tends to be much busier. 

Our hope is that your center is running efficiently and staff members are staying productive. Are you interested in learning more about center operations and optimizations? Contact us today for a free quote! 

 

Higher Volume Injury in the Summer Months

Higher Volume Injury in the Summer Months

Summer is here, which means families are out hiking, biking, and kids will be participating in summer sports, potentially bringing more injuries to your urgent care center. Your center will most likely see a decrease in flu/cold visits and an influx of injuries related to summer activities or sports.

Some common injuries that are seen in higher volume would be knee and ankle injuries from soccer and baseball, cuts and abrasions due to sliding on grass and gravel, and shoulder and wrist issues because of falls or throwing.

We want your urgent care to thrive during all seasons, which is why we wanted to touch on two ways your urgent care can handle the seasonality and get your patients back out having fun!

Preparation

The key ingredient to success during a busy season is preparation. When you know that summer is going to involve more injuries, prepping your center is what will keep your staff moving forward and patients happy.

One way to prepare is by making sure your staff has access to educational materials to refresh themselves on procedures. Competency in knee and ankle wraps, cut and abrasion care, and shoulder and wrist care can result in faster turn around times for patients. Revisiting these procedures will reinforce training for providers and staff members so they can care for patients with confidence.

Another way to prepare is to make sure you have the appropriate amount of durable medical equipment (DME). Even though the injuries that urgent care centers see may vary, centers can assume that they will need more compression devices, crutches, hot and cold packs, braces, as well as supplies for splinting and casting. We don’t advise clients to order a significantly higher amount, but ordering some extra of these items will help your center give quality care to patients when they need it, leading to a positive experience.

Marketing Tactics

Success during the summer months also means letting the community know you’re ready and available to help in times of need. This is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on marketing tactics that promote center services related to injuries. If your urgent care is open on the weekends and also has extended hours, this will be of value to parents who are traveling or are in a bind when their child is unexpectedly injured.

This could be as simple as sponsoring summer sporting events promoting your services, partnering with a business at their employer picnic and having a first aid station, or handing out water at a 5K. Finding creative ways to let the public know that your center can help is what will drive more traffic and lead to patient loyalty.

At Urgent Care Consultants, we want your urgent care to be well-prepared for busy months and find new, creative ways to help the community. Contact us today if you are interested in learning more!

What to Consider Before Your Urgent Care Expands

What to Consider Before Your Urgent Care Expands

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!

Two Ways to Promote Sports Physicals in Your Community

Two Ways to Promote Sports Physicals in Your Community

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!

Locations

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.  

Strategic Partnerships

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.

 

Nurses in Pediatric Urgent Care Centers

Nurses in Pediatric Urgent Care Centers

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.

Skill Set

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.