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The more patients your clinic sees, the higher your revenue potential. The faster you get patients through the door, the more time you have for additional patients, and the better the patient experience — which increases the likelihood of them coming back, meaning more patients in the future.

To understand how to get more patients and faster throughput, we can examine how to improve your urgent care’s visits per clinic per day, and how to improve your urgent care’s door-to-door time.

How to Improve Your Urgent Care’s Visits Per Clinic Per Day

Higher visit volume depends on a few things, including the clinic’s capability to handle more patients, appealing to new patients, and creating repeat patients.

Appeal to new patients through additional services

The list of new service lines appropriate for urgent care keeps growing. We’ve shared a lot about Occupational Medicine because it’s such a good fit for almost any urgent care. Depending on the community you serve, you may also consider things like hybrid primary care, dermatology, behavioral health, pediatrics, or even beauty and wellness (think med spa services, hydration IVs, etc.)

If you’re not poised to bring something brand new into your urgent care, you can also go back to the industry’s roots and serve higher acuity patients. A couple of challenges do exist here. One is that reimbursement for higher acuity treatments may not be as profitable as lower acuity visits based on your payer contracts. However,  you can train up medical assistants and non-physician practitioners on certain procedures so you don’t have to pay a physician — if you’re not at full capacity, getting those lower-reimbursement, higher-acuity patients in can help bridge gaps.

The other challenge is that because you’re training employees, they’re likely to turn over more quickly, leaving you in sort of a perpetual state of training new staff. However, if you embrace the fact that employees will probably not end their careers with you, you could pose up-training as a career advancement opportunity. A really tight, streamlined onboarding/training process makes this part less painful for you. And creating a solid, positive culture may encourage employees to stay with you longer for the growth potential.

If you’re not sure what kind of training to consider, here are some examples of high-acuity cases that can be handled in urgent care:

  • Risk stratification of high-risk complaints like chest pain (history/physical/EKG/chest Xray)
  • Abdominal pain (history/physical/UA/labs)
  • Shortness of breath (history/physical /chest Xray /labs)
  • Head trauma (history/physical)
  • Syncope/dizziness (history/physical /blood sugar check/EKG)
  • Wound management and laceration repair
  • Abscess Incision and drainage
  • Eye injuries and irrigation
  • Severe nose bleeds (nasal packing placement)
  • Allergic reactions (Epinephrin administration)
  • Evaluation/Xray and splinting of sprains/strains/fractures
  • Advanced respiratory support for asthma and COPD (O2 therapy, nebulizer, medications)
  • IV therapy for dehydration, infections, migraines

For more information on increasing acuity at your clinic, read Reviving Revenue Through Higher Acuity >>

Obtain new and repeat patients through modern marketing

The individual generations not only have different expectations for healthcare, but also respond very differently to various marketing mediums. We explore these differences and offer marketing ideas in our How to Market and Diversify Urgent Care Services eBook.

If you’re not ready for a marketing deep dive, here are some more high-level tips to get you started.

Enhance your website:  Refining the user experience and improving your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking should be ongoing for your business. Develop a sustained strategy to augment your website with new pages that enhance SEO visibility. This includes both improving user functionality (like patient queue access, online payments, and service descriptions) and broadening keyword reach through blog content.

Utilize paid advertising: Boost your organic reach with targeted paid advertisements on platforms such as Google AdWords and social media. Tailor your ad visibility to specific demographics, such as local audiences, and focus on keywords where you’re not already ranking organically on the first page. This strategy not only elevates your visibility but also keeps your services at the forefront of potential patients’ minds.

Create email campaigns: Maintain connections with recent patients and encourage their return with email. Inform patients about your healthcare services, remind them about yearly check-ups, and share informative blogs that empower them with self-care knowledge. This strategy helps nurture ongoing relationships and ensures you remain their first thought for future healthcare needs.

A key insight for email outreach: Younger demographics often lack a regular primary care physician. By addressing this gap and highlighting the significance of your services, you can retain the attention of Millennials and Generation Z. Offer them essential healthcare services like physical exams, flu vaccinations, radiographic imaging, immunizations, pregnancy evaluations, and STD screening and treatments, even if comprehensive primary care isn’t on your list.

Get specific with promotional campaigns: Leverage your paid advertising and email efforts by spotlighting special offers with captivating headlines. During our webinar on trends in urgent care, Claudio Varga, Director of Operations at Vital Urgent Care in Newport Beach, California, explained how their promotional campaigns draw considerable attention. “I’m a big believer that if you’re going to do a promotion, go big or go home. Don’t do something like our TB tests are 40 dollars, and we’re going to do them for 30. No. We’re going to do them for five bucks.”

Varga goes on to say, “Right in the headline, you can say ‘TB Test Five Dollars’…and people would call in and say, ‘is that true, are you really doing them for five dollars?’ Yeah! Come on in; here’s our address!”

Solicit post-appointment feedback: Many new patients read reviews before choosing an urgent care. Sending surveys via text messages or emails through your Patient Engagement (PE) solution creates a way for people to give feedback, helping you improve the patient experience and address any problems that could lead to negative feedback. Plus, these surveys can also help you get more online reviews. Just add a link to your Google My Business (GMB) profile and ask patients to share their experiences. Advanced technology is available that can trigger a review prompt following a positive survey, or direct patients to a designated contact point if their feedback indicates dissatisfaction.

Handle more patients and provide a better patient experience with technology

When you digitize and automate certain tasks, you not only free up time to accept more patients in a day, you also create a better user experience, making you an easy choice for new patients — and coming back a no-brainer.

Patient engagement (PE) technology acts like a digital front door for patients. It lets them get in line, preregister, and track their spot before they even arrive at the clinic. This improves the patient experience and makes things more efficient for the staff. Here’s a quick overview of how PE tech helps patients and staff:

  • Managing expectations: Patients find waiting more bearable when they know how long it’ll take
  • Empowering patients: Whether they join a virtual line the night before or simply get an estimate of wait time, patients feel more in control
  • Visibility into wait times: Patients can see wait times and choose a sister clinic with shorter waits, getting seen sooner and helping balance the load across facilities
  • Staff insights: Accurate volume data helps staff schedule breaks optimally and decide when to ask someone to come in early or stay home
  • Streamlined check-in: Online preregistration allows patients to fill out forms and upload documents (like ID and insurance cards) before their visit, saving time and providing better accuracy for data entry
  • Time savings: On average, preregistration saves staff about four minutes per patient. If you see 40 patients a day, that’s an extra 160 minutes — roughly three more patients seen each day.

[quote block] “I have seen five to seven minutes shaved off our check-in time using the patient engagement tool.” – Jana Call, Clinic Director/Family Nurse Practitioner, RedMed Urgent Clinic

How to Improve Your Urgent Care’s Door-to-door Time

Just as software can improve your front desk processes and the patient experience, it also helps you slash your door-to-door time. Think about the types of things that eat up staff time: charting, manual entries (including electronic prescriptions or discharge instructions separate from the chart note,) clicking/scrolling through fields and screens, waiting for users to exit records to gain access — all of these processes reflect inefficiencies that slow the entire visit.

Patient engagement (PE) technology plays a big role in patient flow, but your EMR/PM should be streamlining your tasks for a faster visit overall. And the most efficient tools are purpose-built for urgent care. Here’s how that can impact door-to-door time:

  • Speed up registration: Electronic registration in the PE along with PM functionality like Real Time Verification (RTE) can reduce most registration times to under two minutes. Additional features like credit card on file can also help improve billing practices
  • Easier documentation: An EMR tailored for urgent care makes it simpler for your providers to document patient information , more accurately, and with higher compliance — like with a differential diagnosis feature that helps providers catch things they may have missed and improves patient care.
  • Faster charting: When your EMR has built-in coding recommendations and charting templates designed for urgent care, it reduces charting time to under a minute for 80 percent of the most common urgent care visits. This can help reduce door-to-door time to around 45 minutes
  • Cross-functional efficiencies: System integrations allow preregistration data from PE to automatically fill in your EMR — allowing you to reduce errors, duplicity, and improve speed. This translates to improved denial rates, door-to-door time, patient experiences, and staff morale

[quote block] “It guides you through what you need to ask so you don’t miss anything. Everything is in there. And because it is urgent care-specific, it keeps out extra information that is not pertinent to our care. That is how we’re able to get the patient in and out quickly.” – Jade Laughter, LPN, RedMed Urgent Clinic on using Experity’s EMR

If it’s time to upgrade your EMR, check out Experity’s solution purpose-built for urgent care.

See What a More Efficient EMR Does

Real Clinics Getting Results With Their EMR and PE Tools

Wondering how these results actually show up in real life? Here are a couple of excerpts from our customer stories.

Lansing Urgent Care

“From the day they went live, Lansing UC immediately noticed gains in speed and efficiency. Using their prior system, providers could document a chart note in approximately six minutes. However, the chart note did not include some key items—such as electronic prescriptions or discharge instructions—that required further manual processes by the provider. With Experity, Lansing UC’s providers have been able to reduce the time required to generate a chart note to two minutes, including the writing of prescriptions and the provision of discharge instructions.

Additionally, the clinic was able to reduce patient door-to-door times. The prior system’s inefficiencies resulted in unnecessarily high door-to-door times. With Experity, Lansing UC cut their door-to-door times by 15 minutes per patient to an average of 57 minutes. Not only did Lansing UC reduce their door-to-door times, but they did so while seeing record numbers for their clinic (averaging 185 patients per day). Despite these record numbers, medical director and clinic owner Terry Matthews, DO was able to cut his chart review time in half.”

RedMed Urgent Clinic

“’Our goal is to get patients in and out in 45 minutes or less,’ said Austin Loden, Marketing Manager. Using the operating system sets everyone at RedMed up to achieve this goal in 86 percent of visits.

Jade Laughter, LPN, said the EMR has a very easy flow. ‘It guides you through what you need to ask so you don’t miss anything. Everything is in there. And because it is urgent care-specific, it keeps out extra information that is not pertinent to our care. That is how we’re able to get the patient in and out quickly.”

She also likes the integrated options available for charting. “It keeps the paperwork down. Experity just makes it so easy to provide information to the patient in one document,” said Laughter.

Using Experity Patient Engagement simplifies workflows for staff and keeps patients moving through the clinic according to Loden. “Patient Engagement makes it easy to put information into the system and alleviates double work for staff. As soon as information is in the system, we can get patients in a room to be triaged, seen by a nurse, and cared for by a provider. Their issues are addressed fast, and they’re cared for as efficiently as possible and out the door and back to their homes.”

And time makes a difference according to Jana Call, Clinic Director/Family Nurse Practitioner. “I have seen five to seven minutes shaved off our check-in time using the patient engagement tool.” They’re able to get patients signed in sooner, in a room sooner, and document sooner — which leaves more time to actually engage with the patient.”

See the Tools That Make a Difference






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