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The urgent care industry emerged early in the 21st century when pioneers in healthcare realized that patients wanted a new way of engaging with doctors and the entire healthcare system. Urgent care providers and operators looked at healthcare in new ways, not only as a response to patients’ needs to get well, but as a business that filled an important need for their communities.
Over the last two decades, urgent care operators continued to develop their businesses in response to patient demands –convenient care, less waiting, cost transparencies and flexibility. And along they way, they learned to market their patient-centered services to stay competitive like all successful businesses.
In light of the latest healthcare emergency, it becomes more important than ever for urgent care clinics to be marketers. Patients need you, but they’re afraid.
Someone has to take away some of their fear. And that someone is you.
Through thoughtful, helpful, and information-packed marketing, you can build a bridge to the other side of social distancing. Be their trusted, safe haven for treatment.
People are scrolling through social media feeds for hours each day, searching for the latest information about COVID-19 in their communities. Be there to share information about your clinic. Tell them you’re open. Share your hours. And tell them it’s safe to come see you.
If your clinic has COVID-19 testing supplies, spread the word.
It’s also important to remind them that ignoring their health conditions that aren’t related to the coronavirus can have negative long-term implications. Bronchitis today can turn into pneumonia tomorrow. A deep cut can get infected without proper treatment or stitches. Broken bones need setting to heal properly. Staying away from all medical treatment is a bad habit that needs to be broken now. You are the best messenger in this time of confusion and fear.
It’s not cutting edge, but it’s (still and always) effective.
People driving by your urgent care clinic should have no doubt you’re open and seeing patients. Put up signs in your parking lot, on your door, and next to the roadway that tell them you’re seeing patients.
It’s likely that you currently have a listing in Google My Business. If you didn’t create it, it may be populated with default public information. Now is the time to be sure it’s up-to-date.
Confirm your hours and the services you’re offering. Remind patients you’re there for them during the outbreak, and show photos or videos that send the right messages to your patients about your clinic when they need you most. If you have remote registration, mobile self-scheduling, telemedicine, post the link prominently to make it easy for patients to get to you. It’s a part of the urgent care DNA to be convenient – your patients need that now.
If you haven’t made updates to your website, do it now. Let patients know that you’re invested in keeping them healthy in times of uncertainty – times like now.
Patients have questions right now – lots of them. Be the authority in your community, available to the press and one-on-one with patients to alleviate their fears and provide good information.
As a business partner to nearly half of the urgent care operations in the U.S., we’re here to help keep you and the industry strong. We’ve pulled together tips for bridging the social distance with an eBook that includes plug-and-play social media post messages and graphics to get you started.
During the COVID-19 public health crisis, it’s more important than ever to be seen, both in your clinic, and online. Stay strong, responsive, and helpful. It’s what urgent care has always been about.