Urgent care has been through a lot of changes the last few years — some permanent and some more fluid. As business owners attempt to stabilize through the ups and downs, one thing remains constant: the desire to grow.
Clinics have to keep an eye on the future so they can thrive through the ebb and flow of visit volume. But because unpredictability is at the core of this industry, the most stable way to ensure continued growth is through SaaS tools.
Given the investment required to use such tools, it’s important to see evidence that they really work. We’re going to cover three key areas central to business growth and provide real examples of how effectively different tools delivered results.
You’ll learn through example how to accelerate the growth of your own clinic by using tools to assist with:
Reducing door-to-door time not only helps you see more people in a day (and make more money,) it also improves the patient experience (helping increase patient volume.) Clinics have had to become more creative in recent years to increase efficiency, and certainly changes to different processes and setups can help you accomplish this.
However, we find again and again that tools like Patient Engagement and EMR/PM solutions have the biggest impact in cutting down the time spent at your clinic. Here are some specific reasons and results from actual urgent cares.
The key to leveraging your EMR/PM to speed up processes is to use one that is specific to urgent care. This ensures that it not only follows your workflow, but also cuts out irrelevant fields, dropdowns, and other noise that urgent care staff run into when using a system built for hospitals.
As Jade Laughter, LPN at RedMed Urgent Clinic said about Experity’s EMR/PM, “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.”
Laughter also noted that the integrated charting options reduce time spent on paperwork by making it easy to provide information to the patient in one document. Overall, RedMed has been able to reach their door-to-door time goal of 45 minutes or less with 86 percent of visits using Experity’s urgent-care-specific system.
At CRH Healthcare, clinicians liked the ease and speed of the charting system in Experity compared to a less-specialized system. “It used to take me about four or five minutes to complete a single chart,” said Chief Medical Officer, Dr. James Yost. “Now, with the Experity’s prebuilt charts, everything’s on one page. I can complete my average chart in about 45 seconds.”
In Zip Clinic’s case study, staff pointed out a few other EMR/PM features that let them eliminate bottlenecks, including:
Real-time insurance verification — which allows Zip Clinic staff to verify insurance in less than a minute and collect copays before the visit to improve revenue realization.
Concurrent charting — provides the ability to have multiple people in the same chart at the same time, increasing efficiencies for providers and staff — and reducing post-visit documentation.
Any one of the above features help providers spend more quality time with patients and reduce the total visit time, but together, a system like this makes a dramatic impact on door-to-door time.
Once patients are in the exam room, much of the wait anxiety is lifted because they know it’s their turn to be seen. The initial wait to even see the provider can feel excruciating, and it’s the part of the wait over which you have the least control. Patient Engagement (PE) tools come to the rescue for this part of the patient visit.
In Experity’s 2022 State of the Industry Report, 50 percent of respondents said automating processes like front desk registration have had the biggest impact on their front desk operations over the last year. While PE tools do a lot for Net Promotor Score (NPS) as a whole, pre-registration has the biggest impact on reducing door-to-door time.
With preregistration, patients fill out their registration information and upload necessary documents like ID and insurance cards before their visit. This drastically reduces check-in time and improves accuracy — which also saves time otherwise spent fixing mistakes.
Austin Loden, RedMed’s Marketing Manager, explains: “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.”
But just how much time does the PE tool save RedMed at registration? Clinic Director/Family Nurse Practitioner Jana Call said, “I have seen five to seven minutes shaved off our check-in time using the patient engagement tool.”
Again, saving time doesn’t just improve the patient experience. It allows you to treat more people. According to Experity data, preregistration saves staff an average of four minutes per patient. While that does not seem like much alone, if you have three clinics seeing 40 patients a day, that’s 480 extra minutes — or about ten more patients a day across the board.
Your NPS is a useful indicator of future growth for your clinic. If patients are satisfied with their experience at your urgent care, they’ll not only likely return, but help you attract new patients. Surveys give you direct feedback about what’s going right and not-so-right. But in the age of reviews, your Google rating needs just as much attention as your surveys.
Two key strategies that help you improve your Google rating are to provide a better patient experience and increase your volume of ratings.
The attitude, demeanor, and care from every staff interaction with patients will significantly influence the patient experience. Above all else, you need the right people in the right roles with the right motivation to care about what they’re doing.
Aside from that, the patient experience is dictated largely by ease of accessibility and wait time — which are controlled by the tools you use. Every feature showcased in the first section contributes to a better patient experience. But for most factors impacting customer satisfaction that aren’t related to length of visit, PE functionality takes center stage.
A quick rundown of what we mean:
PE technology creates a digital front door — offering patients the ability to get in line, preregister, and track their place in line before setting foot in your clinic. This gives patients a better experience and helps staff be more efficient. Here are a few ways these PE capabilities improve the patient experience:
You can see why these features provide a better experience for patients, but do they really make a difference in your online rating?
CRH boasts that through their Experity engagement tools, their Google rating rose from 4.1 to 4.8.
Patients are able to register electronically, receive a response within 15 minutes, and follow-up with an option for a telemedicine visit through Experity’s solution – which was especially important following COVID-19.
Bear in mind a 4.8 rating is extremely impressive — perhaps as close to a 5.0 that you can get with legitimate reviews.
The reality is that no matter how good you are at your job, you’re going to get some bad reviews. This is actually a good thing. According to High-Level Marketing, when there are no negative reviews, 30% of consumers assume the reviews are fake.
The key, then, is to pad your bad reviews with good ones. And the best way to do that is simple: encourage every patient to leave a Google review.
In the Experity webinar Improve Your Front Desk Efficiency With the Right People and Tools, Kami Scruggs — COO of iCare Urgent Care Centers — explained how they use PE and also staff incentives to acquire more ratings and more positive ratings.
iCare uses patient engagement software to send 100 percent of patients a link to Google to provide feedback. Patients even receive a reminder if they don’t act upon the first request. To help ensure they receive more good reviews than bad, staff is incentivized with a quarterly bonus if the rating is 4.7 or higher. Staff knows every patient will be invited to leave a review, so every single patient encounter matters.
The above example doesn’t just showcase how to acquire more reviews; it displays how to make reviews matter more to staff so they are consistent about how they interact with patients.
What is urgent care reputation management, and how can you make sure you’re doing everything you can to improve it? Use these tips to start impressing your patients!
Door-to-door time and Google ratings are big pieces of the puzzle when it comes to business growth. But what about all the other factors that impact your revenue potential? Symptoms of inefficiencies and other problems can get buried in reports — which often means hours of manual analytics to find root causes (if they’re even visible through reports at all.)
This is where Business Intelligence (BI) tools come in. You can learn more about the granular differences between reports and BI in this blog, but this comparison provides a high-level understanding:
While reports spit out numbers, BI makes them meaningful. To use an analogy, if reporting was a categorized list of every movie title available to you, BI is Netflix. It’s personalized, interactive, visual data that gives you the information you need to easily make a decision.
You can drill down into metrics like denial rates, DSO, procedure data, E/M codes, and more to quickly and clearly see where you have problems — and more importantly, why.
The staff at RedMed uses Experity’s BI solution, and this is how they say it works for them:
They can ask the question of the data and it gives them not only an answer, but the ability to dive deeper with just a click of a mouse to find deeper answers without hours and hours and hours using spreadsheets.”