4 Urgent Care Industry Trends That Increase Patient Volume
Urgent care centers. They seem to be everywhere nowadays. And that’s no coincidence. These facilities have become a major force in the medical field. What urgent care facilities can provide – and which many private practices and hospitals cannot – is the capability to administer to patients quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively – all of which determine their reputation. Now that there is competition in the urgent care industry, it’s more important than ever to ensure you hit these factors hard and with the best customer experience possible.
So, what are the urgent care industry trends that steer prospective patients to one particular urgent care center over another? Let’s examine four very important factors:
- Quickly: Online maps help patients find an urgent care center in next to no time.
The ease and dexterity of searching online has benefited businesses of all kinds – retail stores, restaurants, and yes, healthcare facilities. There are two main online options which patients can use, with time and place being the deciding factors. If someone is in a hurry to find an urgent care facility, Google Maps is the reliable standby to check. A simple entry into a search engine – “urgent care near me” – will reveal one or more facilities on a map, usually ordered by the nearness of where the search is conducted. It’s crucial to be one of the top results. If the user has time at their disposal, he or she can also check a dynamic map, an interactive tool with the capability to easily pan and zoom to view the location and relevant data to any place they are looking for. This is an appropriate choice for doing quick – but not desperate – research to find a center that is conveniently located. So, the reality is that SEO plays a more than important role in the urgent care industry.
- Efficiently: Medical check-ins made easy.
Everyone has either heard or experienced horror stories of waiting for medical attention. The doctor can’t accept another appointment for weeks. Or, if an appointment is secured, the time spent in the aptly-named waiting room is grueling. Most, if not all, centers in the urgent care industry welcome walk-ins during their hours of operation, and any wait time is minimal. Additionally, many centers have “self-check-in kiosks,” where patients can scan their photo IDs and have their information entered. Depending on the urgent care center, once a patient is registered, he or she can be seen at any location of the same chain.
- Cost-Effectively: The savings are considerable.
It is no surprise or secret that the expense associated with medical treatment is considerable. Or, it used to be. The urgent care industry has dramatically changed this reality, and patients have found this to be to their financial benefit. A recent article in DocWre News highlighted findings from a report from the National Center for Health Statistics: A visit to an emergency room typically costs upward of $1,000, while a visit to an urgent care center is a little more than one-tenth of that figure, at $150 per visit.
- Reputation: The power of online reviews.
The old adage of how “word of mouth is the best form of advertising” is alive and well, except now it happens online. Reviews earned on Google are either an urgent care center’s best friend or worst enemy. Customer comments – positive or negative – are frequently based on the previously mentioned factors of speed, effectiveness, and fair value for the price. If one patient posts a positive review on Google about their experience, many other prospective customers will keep that particular facility in mind. This in turn can lead to “star ratings.” The higher the rating an urgent care center earns, the greater the chances of it showing up in top results of a Google search.
Healthcare as an industry is indeed healthy.
The advantages of quickness, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and reputation of certain urgent care centers have made people sit up and take notice. Consider these observations in an article from American Family Care:
- The urgent care industry started in the 1970s and its presence – and preferred choice among patients – has grown.
- There are currently 10,000 active urgent centers today.
- The revenue per clinic is projected to reach $1.7 million by 2020.
- The collective revenue is expected to reach over $30 billion, at a growth rate of 3.8-percent.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 18-percent increase in healthcare-related jobs by 2026.
To sum it up, the demand and desire for urgent care centers is, well – urgent. And to stay relevant and on top of competing enterprises, every professional administrator of each facility must always be mindful of being quick, efficient, cost-friendly, and how strong its reputation is.
EGC Group has extensive experience in providing creative and marketing services to the healthcare industry – which include urgent care facilities. To learn more about these and other services, contact us today.