Standardization: Freeing Average People to Deliver Outstanding Urgent Care Service

What separates an excellent urgent care business from any other urgent care center. Why it is not ________ that Produces Consistent Excellence:
  • If it is outstanding leadership, then the urgent care center will drift from excellence whenever the leadership is not on site.
  • If it is outstanding methods, how can you make sure that those methods are consistently followed?
  • If it is outstanding staff, can you really find enough MIT graduates to staff your urgent care center?
  • If it is something else, what is it?
Standardization to Excellence:
THE E-MYTH REVISITED by Michael Gerber suggests that standardization is key for any business or urgent care center that wishes to become free of the tyrany of massive everyday involvement by owners. Standardizing excellence appears to be the clear distinctive of what separates McDonalds from a simple, inefficient, random-quality burger joint. Without standardization the urgent care center owns the owner. With standardization urgent care owners may become free to enjoy the fruits (rather than the burdens) of ownership. It is also clear that the leaders of any business must become passionately devoted to standardization, if standardization is to succeed. The Replicatible Model Produces Replicatible Results
It seems that complete standardization is the hallmark of any replicatible model. Training & retraining of staff in a replicatible model (e.g., McDonalds, Starbucks, and many other multi-site businesses) does focus on memorizing sentences verbatim and exact procedures by average people. Standardization frees average staff to achieve world-class results. Otherwise, an urgent care operator must hire superstars, and that is cost-prohibitive. Years ago, I lived and worked in Maryland, but I also commuted to once per month to an urgent care Illinois. I was amazed at how the drug reps were repeating (verbatim) the exact same high-impact sentences in both Maryland and Illinois. The drug companies knew that standardization could allow average salespeople to achieve world-class results. Start Somewhere to Standardize Your Urgent Care Center
Maybe you want to consider starting standardization in you urgent care with a simple phrase used by all receptionists when patients enter the clinic. Maybe you can start with a simple sentence about strep testing when a patient presents with a sore throat. Maybe you will start with the way that the tray is set up for a laceration repair. This simple change can be the start of a new philosophy at your urgent care center. This change–along with scores of other standardized sentences and procedures–can be memorized and repeated thousands of times at your urgent care center. Standardization means:
  • You are not relying on the whim of each staffer to deliver care according to their personal preferences.
  • You can rapidly determine if a staffer is adequately trained in any area. You do not need to look only for gross deviation from standard of care. Rather, you can rapidly detect deviation from your specific standards–long before the deviation reaches the level.
  • Any properly trained high-school graduate can deliver excellence without any himming and hawing on day 1.
Examples of Standardization in the Retail Industry:
  • Starbucks: the staffer always places the coffee cup on the counter. I realized why when a new trainee handed the coffee to me, and was instantly admonished by the trainer to place it on the counter. Reason? I suspect that scalding a customer with coffee is much more likely and liability is higher if the coffee is transferred from staffer’s hand to customer’s hand.
  • McDonalds: “Have a nice day.”
  • Best Buy: “For your protection, you can purchase a prolonged warranty with this appliance. . .” Note: last Christmas I entered the line at Best Buy at the back of the store and purchased the item in less than ten minutes. This “miracle” in customer service probably has a lot to do with standardization that seperates Best Buy from the rest in customer experience and Wall Street performance.
  • Walmart: Sam Walton obsessed about getting credit card processing under one minute. He would be happy to see how his obsession about standardization and speed helped push the credit card revolution into Starbucks and McDonalds.
  • Your Urgent Care Center: Send us your example of stardarization in your urgent care center with a comment below.
This resource was first published prior to the 2019 merger between DocuTAP and Practice Velocity. The content reflects our legacy brands.