Healthcare Marketing
mistakes when starting an urgent care and how to avoid them

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Urgent Care


According to the Urgent Care Association of America, there are roughly 9,000 urgent care clinics in the United States — rising at a speed of over 300 facilities per year nationally. From only sites to franchises and massive associations, urgent care clinics will continue to expand as the ageing Baby Boomer population floods the healthcare market needing episodic or acute care providers.

Also, the Affordable Health Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, went into effect in 2014, creating the need for more healthcare providers as

Thirty million uninsured individuals become insured.

These factors have led venture capitalist hospitals, individual doctors, and even insurers to rush to open their urgent care.

While the opportunity is a gold one for the company, opening an urgent care demands due diligence in upfront planning for long-term achievement.

Before opening your urgent care practice, we recommend avoiding these traditional mistakes.

Mistake 1

Not Planning or Having the Correct Expertise

While it may seem obvious, many clinics state that beginning an urgent care takes advanced preparation (at least a year or even more) and requires employees’ knowledge in both industry and health.

Often, clinic owners have experience in one of these two areas. Adding a partner or hiring experienced consultants can help counter areas of inexperience to give a balanced strategy.

A proforma is necessary for loan funding, but summarized business and marketing plans are essential, especially in the initial operation years. Knowledgeable practices advise that you ought to be ready to run in a loss (insurance reimbursements may take months) and have working funds to get you through the first phases of business.

Employing the correct workers that fit your clinic’s mission will help prevent time-consuming rehiring.

Additionally, careful selection of staffing models is advocated as hiring choices to determine when a clinic will profit.

Human resource requirements, payroll, worker training programs, and policy and procedures are vital areas for a new clinic to be prepared to research and understand. To help guide new practices, the Urgent Care Association of America offers a Policy and Procedure Manual with sample templates, so clinic administrators don’t need to write documentation from scratch.

Bottom line: Start with experience in both industry and healthcare, have a business plan and take the time to hire the right staff and advisers. VKnowCustomers can help you if you are urgent care in Illinois, they offer reputation management and managed IT services in Lemont, Schaumburg and Willowbrook.

Mistake 2

While it may look obvious, many clinics state that starting urgent care requires advanced preparation (at least a year or longer ) and requires employees’ knowledge in both business and health. Often, clinic owners possess expertise in one of both of these areas.

To give a balanced approach, including a spouse or hiring experienced consultants can help counter inexperienced regions. A frequent oversight is underestimating the time necessary to open clinic doors. Utilizing an existing building or renting a space can cut back on construction time, but existing structure frequently limits lacks and space customized space designs.

Consider carefully which building solution type is ideal for your clinic. Ensure your construction contractor has considered building codes throughout the layout configuration stage, so your practice moves inspection.

Having a thorough timeline will allow you to meet milestones and open on time. Contain some flexibility in your build-out program for unexpected setbacks, like construction delays, hiring employees, and getting contracts with payers.

When advertising, be vague about the launching date, like saying “coming soon” until nearer to the ribbon-cutting period. You might wish to look at a gentle grand opening at first until your practice is up and running smoothly.

It’s essential to research patient volume for your clinic’s location for the chosen month of your opening — for correct staffing amounts and revenue streams. Opening during a slow time of year can break your clinic, but opening before the busy season may allow your practice to streamline operations. Initially, hiring fewer or part-time employees and cross-training them can be a prudent move until patient volumes grow.

Bottom line: Choose your construction attentively, have an opening schedule and study the best month to start. VKnowCustomers provides consultancy in reputation management and managed IT services in Lemont, Schaumburg and Willowbrook.

Mistake 3

Not Selecting the Correct Location

Land and construction price are often the deciding factors when choosing your clinic’s location. On the other hand, the error of not reviewing local competition can be detrimental to your patient volume. Contemplate current clinics in your area before selecting a spot. Present clinics recommend being five miles from the closest competitor. Also, consider ease of accessibility via major roadways — along with the proximity to residential and industrial areas.

Because of the reliance on consistent walk-ins, most urgent care is situated in high traffic areas, such as on busy streets, neighborhood malls, or neighboring (sometimes even interior) retail locations or pharmacies. Corner places can be desirable as it enables your clinic to be viewed by visitors from several directions. Remember to think outside your regional community, too. Can you get more individuals in a nearby city or town that has fewer health care choices?

Bottom line: Research local competition, consider traffic volume and consider nearby communities or suburbs. VKnowCustomers can help you decide the best spots and offer consultancy.

Mistake 4

Not Starting Insurance Contracts & Credentialing Soon Enough

While an urgent care clinic may mainly operate with physician assistants, medical assistants, or nurse practitioners, a licensed doctor is needed on employees.

Not only do physicians need their medical license to practice, but it’s also necessary to have insurance credentialing for doctors. Credentialing is the process of experiencing a physician affiliated with essential insurance companies in your field so your practice may accept third-party reimbursement.

Physician credentialing enables clinics to receive steady payments; it also means doctors can see more patients since physicians will be in-network or preferred suppliers for insurance companies.

Credentialing procedures vary from payer to payer, so decide which insurance companies you will participate in together and start the process whenever possible.

Once you’re credentialed, start setting up contracts with all the significant insurance companies in your area.

Beginning the contracting procedure ahead of time (usually six months before opening) helps ensure you’ve got rates and discounts agreed upon until you receive patients. Front desk sets will be an essential piece of your clinic’s overall reimbursement. Having a fee for service (FFS) or cash payment schedule in advance will make it possible for the front desk personnel to collect the proper amount before the individual is seen.

If your clinic is unsure about performing credentialing and contracting properly, hiring advisers with expertise in this area is advisable. To ensure legal compliance, it is also suggested that you examine state laws for both physicians and your practice office so that you meet all regulations.

Bottom line:

  • Make sure doctors have insurance credentialing.
  • Negotiate contracts with payers well beforehand.
  • Verify you have the correct permits to operate in your state and clinic location.

Mistake 5

For all the effort put into creating a clinic, locating staff, and advertising, one significant step frequently forgot the clinic’s billing process. Whether you do billing and claims processing yourself or a third-party firm handles it, who will your billing is a crucial decision to your urgent care.

Billing controls your revenue stream; therefore, it’s essential to have timely reimbursements from payers (preferably in 90 days or less). Delays from payers or common mistakes in claim submissions can substantially impact your bottom line.

When choosing an RCM firm, start looking for one with experience in the urgent care sector and offers a clear package or listing of precisely what billing services it will provide. Services like taking individual phone calls and supplying transparent billing data can save your practice time and streamline management procedures.

For clinics that choose to do billing “in-home,” a best practice is to hire dedicated billers and certified coders who will review, maintain submissions for accuracy and make sure proof of timely filing. This may save time and decrease back-and-forth keep rejections from clearinghouses. As clinic management, having access to accounts receivable is crucial since it allows you to see excellent arrangements–and where difficulties are happening.

Bottom line:

  • Determine a billing process before launching.
  • Consider using a third-party billing company.
  • Also, have access to accounting figures.

Not Having a Website or Clear Outdoor Signage

Have a clinic title picked out and your marketing budget collection? Now, just how are you going to accomplish your individual base? The very best way to market 24/7 is to have your own site. Consider it as a permanent advertisement and data source for your practice, available to anybody with an Internet connection.

Together with patient-centric health care becoming the standard, your clinic should meet web-savvy patients in which they are–online. Not just does a well-designed, user-friendly website help give your practice credibility, it also produces a good first impression and builds an internet presence.

Fifty-four percent of respondents stated they did online research to choose what services they might need and who should provide them. On your website, your practice can post services offered, physician info, hours, contact info, directions to your clinic, and patient resources. Adding social networking channels that connect back to your website can help grow visits.

Website promotions and beneficial content like a blog with health tips can also improve SEO visitors to your website. However, it is important to keep an up-to-date backup on your site and social media to be sure you’re providing beneficial, timely information to patients.

Registering with local internet business directories and also urgent maintenance directories is also recommended. Free tools such as Google Analytics can help you monitor website performance.

Ensure your site is recorded on all your print marketing items–such as brochures, t-shirts, and fliers. If possible, add a tracking query, such as”How did you hear about us?” to your individual form.

Physical signage is a given for a brand new clinic to attract patients. So you’d be surprised how many clinics don’t concentrate on producing legible, easy-to-view signals. Signs should not just be on the front of your building but also on marquees or at highly visible areas inside your parking lot. Make sure the text is large and in a readable font. If the title of your practice may not include the phrase “urgent care,” then this should be used so that your clinic clearly communicates your own offerings.

Bottom line: Create a website, provide valuable patient information online, and style apparent, visible signage to your practice.

Conclusion

Launching urgent care may be a profitable venture, should you avoid common mistakes. Even though you can prepare to the very best of your skill all on your own, there’s nothing more precious than speaking with individuals who have actually been involved in opening urgent care. Current urgent care practice owners, doctors, or healthcare providers who are willing to share with you’re excellent resources for learning. Hiring long-term advisors, either business-related or healthcare – oriented, may also be beneficial for this purpose while planning. Assessing the industry itself and getting acquainted with existing clinics, typical service offerings, sellers, and support resources is helpful –not just in the regional area but also on a nationwide scale.

The urgent care sector offers many opportunities for expansion. However, with all information considered, it’s important to remember that practice is a service-oriented company. Therefore, the high quality and speed of service provided are what help determine a clinic’s longevity. With the right program and staff in place, you can open a successful urgent care clinic that provides patients with effective, recommendable healthcare providers.

If you are looking to open your own urgent care in the Illinois area or are looking for help, VKnowCustomers provides the best consultancy, reputation management and managed IT services in Lemont, Schaumburg and Willowbrook. You can reach out here.

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