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What do urgent care operators need to consider about opportunities for urgent care center marketing and utilization during the Pokémon Go craze? There are business opportunities on the advertising side and from potential new patients, who get injured during the course of video game play.

If you haven’t heard of the mobile exploration game that’s swept across the country in recent weeks, we’re surprised. The smartphone-based Pokémon Go game sends players out into public places to walk around (while looking an overlaid map screen on their phone) to collect characters.

It’s quickly earned the title of bestselling mobile game of all time and is generating an estimated $1.6 million in revenue each day. Pokémon Go is being used by an estimated 9.5 million each day—drawing as many active daily users in its second week as Twitter.

Get more guidance for how urgent care operators should navigate the murky waters of social media here.

Given the popularity of the game, it’s worth considering advertising opportunities in the Pokémon Go space. Niantic, the game’s developer, is planning to sell sponsored promotion spots for businesses. Details about that opportunity are still being rolled out. There’s also the opportunity for an urgent care center to lure gamers to the center by “hosting” some of the animated characters on site.

DK Donuts & Bakery owner Mayly Tao, in Santa Monica, told the L.A. Times that she bought a virtual item known as a “Lure” to briefly swarm the shop with Pokémon to further incentivize players to visit. She bought two lures for $1 each and plans to buy more.

She attributes about 10 percent of her business in recent days to the Pokémon game, and she’s started selling donuts decorated like Poke Balls to further appeal to the gamers.

While an urgent care center doesn’t have retail items to sell gamers, it could certainly benefit from being top of mind for players who may get injured, dehydrated or suffer other problems. Numerous incidents have been reported around the country of Pokémon Go players running into cars, walls or other obstacles. A Texas teenager was bitten by a poisonous snake as he searched for a “Pokestop.” The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons even issued a warning for Pokémon Go players.

“We love that these games are bringing children and adults outdoors and encouraging exercise,” Dr. Alan S. Hilibrand,” AAOS spokesperson and a Philadelphia-based orthopedic surgeon, said in a press release. “But we also want everyone to be mindful of their surroundings as they enjoy this activity. Walking while looking at your phone or electronic device can result in sprains, broken bones, and other serious, even fatal, injuries.”

ZipClinicRachael Embry, a nurse practitioner and the lead at a ZipClinic Urgent Care in Bowling Green, offers the following tips for playing the game safely:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not play while driving.
  • Do not go into an unknown or strange place (or climb fences or walls) to play the game.
  • Limit time spent playing (especially in younger children) to avoid eye strain.

Consider sharing these safety tips on your urgent care blog and social media channels. Use hashtags such as #pokemon or #pokemongo. And if you decide to host Pokémon Go characters through purchasing lures or other promotion, read these marketing tips from Inc.

This resource was first published prior to the 2019 merger between DocuTAP and Practice Velocity. The content reflects our legacy brands.

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