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The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, and urgent care clinics are at the forefront of providing efficient, patient-centered care. To stay competitive and profitable, urgent care centers must adopt best practices that streamline operations and enhance patient experiences. Here are seven best practices that can help urgent care clinics thrive.

 

1. Master Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)

Effective RCM is crucial for profitability. Clinics should train front desk staff to consistently and use PM functionality built to make life easier.

  • Real Time Insurance Verification/Eligibility (RTV/RTE) verifies insurance coverage and determines patient responsibility upfront. Just as importantly as running RTE on all insured patients is to know what to do with the results, like set up a payment plan, for example
  • Credit card preauthorization ensures prompt payment and reduces billing complexities, but it also makes billing easier on the patient if they allow you to bill their balance(s) to the card
  • Text balance reminders have shown to improve patient collections as well as the patient experience, and it reduces paper statements for the clinic

Our front desk checklist PDF can help your staff remember steps to avoid rejections and denials.

2. Embrace Technology and Automation for Efficiency

Leveraging technology, specifically from an EMR system designed for urgent care, can significantly increase the number of patients treated per hour. This not only improves patient flow (and the patient experience,) but also boosts revenue. The right technology should save you in labor costs as it automates manual tasks and even puts some of the data entry on the patient (like with preregistration) to improve accuracy as well.

Some features that make an EMR specific to urgent care, and thereby more efficient, includes complaint-driven logic, real-time chart updates, and automation that allows you to register patients in under two minutes and chart 80% of the most common visits in under 60 seconds.

3. Re-engage Patients Based on Their Needs

The pandemic likely increased your new patient database, providing an opportunity to market your services through text or email to get them back in for other services. However, if you’re not basing your messaging and mediums on multiple demographic factors, you could be wasting your budget. Not only do you need to consider which services matter most to your patients (e.g. sports physicals for parents, STD screening for college students, etc.,) but also different age cohorts respond differently to what you send out. A younger person wants to feel connected and understood, while a middle-aged person really just wants you to get to the point.

There is a lot of helpful information around marketing to specific generations in  How to Market and Diversify Your Services to Your Community >>

 

4. Rightsize Your Staff

To make sure you have the right number of staff, use the same metric driving wait times: patients per hour for each provider (P/H/P). Each clinic has its own number for breaking even or profitability, so you need to figure out what that number is for you. You can find this number through your PM’s reporting or using a business intelligence tool if you have one. Do this for current and historical data to identify trends — it’s easier to rightsize your staff when you can predict seasonal volume, for example.

Once you’ve established your clinic’s P/H/P and have a grasp on expected patient volumes, adjust your staffing accordingly. In certain scenarios, particularly for smaller clinics, this may involve cross-training staff to handle various responsibilities. For instance, there may be occasions when it’s practical for a clinic to operate with just one receptionist and one medical provider, who may also perform tasks typically assigned to medical assistants, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants during peak staffing.

Learn more staffing tips in 6 Urgent Care Staffing Strategies to Protect Your Bottom Line>>

5. Ensure Consistency Through Training, Incentives, and Process Guides

Your staff influences everything from accurate billing to patient reviews. If you want your employees to do the same thing every time — whether it’s steps in registration or even simply asking patients questions a certain way — they need to know your expectations and understand the role they play in the business. Get feedback from staff on how to improve the quality and efficiency of your training. Create standard operating procedures and write them down. Share your business goals with staff and explain the critical role they play in reaching those. And offer incentives for reaching goals, especially around things like Google reviews and NPS scores so they remain committed to giving patients a great experience.

6. Focus on Patient Engagement

Patients are currently very unhappy with healthcare as a whole — which gives urgent care a bit of an advantage being a same-day service. However, this is only true if you’re meeting their demands for not only quality care, but also tech-based convenience. Online scheduling, visible wait times, and preregistration are just a few tools that deliver a modern, more convenient patient experience that — in combination with an efficient EMR — also allows providers to deliver more attentive patient care.

 

7. Optimize Your Online Presence

A robust online presence is non-negotiable in today’s digital age. Clinics must ensure their website is SEO-optimized, utilize paid ads strategically, and maintain accurate local listings, especially on Google My Business, to attract and retain patients. Remember that patients often consult the internet first when they have questions about their health, so you can establish trust and credibility by providing those answers through your blogs and social media.

 

Make Life Easier for You and Your Patients

Experity’s EMR/PM is built for urgent care — so you can reduce door-to-door time, simplify billing, improve patient care, and more. Integrations with labs, teleradiology, ePrescribe, and Experity Patient Engagement create a seamless user experience without leaving the EMR/PM. The system is not only scalable, but also supports additional service lines like pediatrics, OccMed, and hybrid primary care to accommodate clinics of all sizes.

The best news? Our EMR is easy to learn and our implementation process minimizes disruptions to your business. So you can confidently go live in about 45-60 days. (A 45-day implementation is self-guided and applies to our CORE EMR offering.)

Learn About Experity’s EMR

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