Retail clinics and urgent care centers have a lot in common as they both accommodate walk-ins and require no prior booking arrangements. However, a retail clinic addresses less complicated illnesses and are staffed by a nurse practitioner and physician assistants. The demand for convenient and immediate health care facilities has led to an increase of retail medical clinics opened in the United States. They have grown by 14 times over the past decade.
An urgent care center comes in handy for patients who do not require an emergency room visit and cannot wait for regular business hours. As of 2014, the Urgent Care Association of America strongly suggested that 83% of urgent care centers experienced growth.
Investing in an urgent care clinic is a great way to offer patients professional medical help at low costs. Here are helpful tips on how to start an urgent care clinic.
Draw up a Formal Business Plan
Starting up any business requires extensive research and planning. Particularly when looking to venture in the urgent care business, writing a business plan that incorporates the size and equipment needed will be a great place to start.
This will give you an estimate on urgent care startup costs. With a rough idea on the estimated budget, it is easy to get funding from investors and well-wishers. The business plan should also outline the urgent care center marketing strategy, staffing requirements, and location.
Choose Location Wisely
Urgent care centers are a crucial part of the healthcare system as they strive to manage patients volume, and deliver after-hours ambulatory care. For the facility to work at an optimum level, it needs to be situated at a standalone building or pad site.
If you are wondering how to start an urgent care clinic, select a site far from other similar medical facilities. Also, look out for high traffic areas with high visibility and ample parking. Places with at least a population of 30,000 people are good places to set up profitable urgent care business.
Hire Adequate Medical Staff
One of the most important steps of an urgent care start up is hiring efficient and qualified staff. Advertise for job openings, conduct interviews, and offer training where necessary. A physician, X-ray tech, accountant, and office administrator are just some of the urgent care center consultants you need to hire.
The staff roles will directly affect the daily operations of the business. You can use a staffing ratio to determine whether you have adequate personnel. The typical ratio is 0.75 staff members per average number of patients per hour. This value is rounded up, so if you have four patients per hour, three staff members are required.
Advertise Your Business
A key influence on how to start up an urgent care center is marketing effectively. Print out brochures, fliers, and posters about your business. You could also put out an advertisement in your local newspaper.
An easier marketing strategy for urgent care centers is through social media. It is relatively cheaper and encompasses a wider range of the target audience. You could enlist the services provided, opening hours, and insurers accepted.
Consult People Already in the Business
If you are uncertain about how to start an urgent care clinic, it is best to talk to a fellow entrepreneur. This way you will know exactly what you are getting into in terms of urgent care profit margin, and overall business growth.
A business mentor will advise on your urgent care start up checklist and tell you what to cut back or add. Familiarize yourself with the operations of an urgent care clinic from someone with experience.
Reducing wait time and offering a wide range of services will build client influx. Have a viable plan on how to start an urgent care clinic and work on its execution. Deploy up to date technology in your urgent care center, to facilitate quality medical care.
Between 2000 and 2016, the number of walk-in medical facilities has grown by more than 2,000 centers. Trends from the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that this number will continue to grow in the coming years. Therefore, if you start an urgent care business, you need to have an urgent care center marketing strategy that will position your urgent care clinic over other facilities in your region.
Urgent care business consulting is an important undertaking because it helps you to understand some important marketing strategies for urgent care centers. Some tricks about urgent care marketing plans that you can learn through consulting have been discussed below:
1. Amplify Patient Experience
Amplifying patient experience is an urgent care center marketing strategy that involves paying attention to each and every service the patients are receiving. By listening to the patients’ complaints and improving the overall care experience, you will be able to outperform other walk-in facilities in your region. To improve patient experience, you need to create a welcoming environment in your clinic; that includes friendly staff, neutral décor, and positive feelings around the facility.
2. Promote Referral Program
Like any other medical facility, your urgent care startup needs to create a strong base of returning patients. With returning patients, you will be able to build a customer base that can sustain your business in the long term. Asking your returning patients to refer you to their neighbors, families, and friends is a potential urgent care center marketing strategy that will not cost you anything. You can also focus on proper online referral marketing strategies, especially through e-flyers, newsletters, and blogs.
3. Partner with Local Businesses
Another urgent care center marketing strategy you can incorporate is partnering with other businesses to get third party referrals. Most of the local businesses see a lot of customers in a day who are likely to listen to them. Any word of mouth coming from trusted sources can build strong commercial leads and result in loyal customers. You don't want your urgent care startup to operate in isolation. You have to create a symbiosis relationship with other businesses in the same region for mutual benefits.
4. Reach Your Community
Just like you are reaching out to local businesses for customers, you need to reach out to your community, as well. As a community service provider, you want them to feel your presence, which is the only way you will achieve success. One of the ways you can reach your community is by sponsoring local events and providing free first aid services or any other medical need. Conducting free medical screening is another way through which you can reach your community.
5. Increase Local Media Outreach
Increasing local media outreach is a profound urgent care center marketing strategy that you should incorporate. Trends show that most of the walk-in facilities have focused too much on their online presence and ignoring local media. Besides digital marketing, you need to befriend local media editors and influencers. Having medical ideas and life experiences featured in the local dailies will create a buzz for your urgent care facility.
If you want to learn more about strengthening your health center's marketing strategy, give Intuitive Health a call right away.
The proliferation of urgent care centers in the U.S underscores one very pleasing fact: urgent care centers are a profitable venture. And while normal hospitals serve their purpose well, urgent care centers are more patient-oriented and convenient. This attribute makes urgent care clinics a preferred choice for Americans, who hate having to wait for hours to see a doctor.
Urgent care clinics are also cheaper for patients. Treatment in clinics is on average 30% to 40% cheaper than visiting a physician’s office, but this doesn’t translate to any loss on the clinic’s part.
Starting an Urgent Care ClinicHow to start an urgent care clinic correctly has been a subject of debate by many health executives. While there’s no definite way around the matter, there are a few factors you should consider beforehand:
Location is arguably the most important factor to consider when starting an urgent care center and for good reason. The location of your urgent care clinic will play a crucial part in the success of your venture. The clinic’s location will determine how convenient your urgent care center is for prospective clients. It will also determine what demographic your customer base is, which directly relates to how much your customers are willing to spend. Setting up your clinic in a mall or near any retail establishment is never a bad idea. You can also set up shop near a major highway to enhance visibility and attract traveling clients.
You have to comply with the relevant governing bodies, or you risk closure, fines, and penalties. It is important to have a firm understanding of the regulations stipulated by these bodies. CLIA, OSHAA, and HIPAA are examples of authorities with regulations that need to be strictly followed.
Assessing a venture’s profitability is an important and sensible step for any business. It makes sense to conduct a thorough feasibility study before pouring your resources into an urgent care center. There are plenty of firms who can conduct this study and present a financial pro forma for your scrutiny. This pro forma will help you determine whether establishing an urgent care clinic is worth the time and money.
4. Clinic Staff
Your staff is a huge asset when it comes to your urgent care startup. With that in mind, you should take extra care when choosing your staff before starting your clinic. Thorough background checks and speaking with references can help you know your staff better, subsequently leading to a more connected and familiar work environment.
As the influx of patients gradually increases, remember to hire more staff to meet the patient volumes. Failure to do so may cause delays, which can cause all sorts of issues. You should also update your payroll accordingly, and never underpay your staff.
A practical and comprehensive urgent care center marketing strategy is paramount to the success of your establishment. After you’ve set up your clinic, it’s important to get the word out, so your potential clients are in the know. Depending on your marketing strategy, you can use a variety of marketing tools at your disposal. Banners, posters, and brochures are a great place to start. Social media is also the perfect platform to advertise your services and get people talking.
What Are You Waiting For?Taking heed of these few factors increases your chances of success in your new healthcare venture. Remember, just like any business, an urgent care center takes time to pick, so patience is imperative for ultimate profitability.
SWOT analysis is a highly effective tool that is employed by many successful urgent care centers to assist in strategic planning and to analyze the company’s progress. At a leadership position, health executives should get acquainted with this powerful tool to increase productivity and boost their staff morale.
This article will discuss one of the most effective marketing strategies for urgent care centers and how healthcare executives can apply them in their urgent care businesses.
What is SWOT Analysis?
SWOT analysis is the abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. As the name suggests, this technique comprehensively examines a business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to give the business a sense of direction in their strategic planning.
A SWOT analysis helps identify the specific objectives of your urgent care center and explores the stepping stones and hindrances towards achieving these objectives. The method is exhaustive and hence covers both internal and external factors that contribute to a company’s performance, making it among the best marketing strategies for urgent care centers.
How Healthcare Executives Can Use SWOT Analysis Effectively
For a proper SWOT analysis, the executive can gather a few people to represent each wing of the care center. These few staff members can act as representatives of their respective sections.
Have a sit down in a quiet but comfortable room with the selected group and hand out note pads and pens all around. Have them write down general ideas about the center’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as they perceive them. These ideas can be gathered either individually or from a discussion as you see fit.
After about ten to twenty minutes of brainstorming on ideas, have the group forward the written ideas to you so you can group them according to their respective categories. You can stick them on the wall so that any additions can be added if necessary. Sometimes one person’s idea can spark another brilliant one from another.
You can then vote the priority of the written ideas in order of their importance but under their respective categories. One by one, collectively explore these ideas intricately and find out ways to leverage your strengths and work on weaknesses. Also, identify the hidden opportunities and the most imminent threats to the center’s success. The process should take no more than two hours entirely.
Forward the findings to the administrative wing of the urgent care clinic so they can chart the best way forward.
Guiding Questions for SWOT Analysis
Practical guiding questions are essential for the success of the SWOT analysis. Here are a few questions to give your staff direction based on the SWOT model.
All in all, SWOT analysis brings to the table an in-depth examination centered on bolstering your business’s growth by coming up with an effective strategy. Apart from the method discussed above, there are other ways to carry out SWOT analysis depending on your staff and resources with pretty much the same result. You can even try SWOT analysis for urgent care startups and optimize it for your particular service. SWOT analysis is certainly among the best growth marketing strategies for urgent care centers and other businesses alike.
Did you know that the first retail medical clinic in the U.S. opened in 2000? The market for medical clinics has grown exponentially since then. So much so that you might be considering opening one yourself. If your mind is made up, you'll need help from an urgent care business consulting firm.
You're probably also looking for some tips to help you get started. We're here to help you out.
Understand the Purpose of Urgent Care
Some of the factors that might drive you to open an urgent care center include the need to meet a need in the community or improve on the services offered in your local area. The true purpose of an urgent care center should not be to replace the existing primary care providers or negate the importance of the emergency room but to bridge the gap between the two while providing service at an affordable rate for patients.
Consider Who Your Primary Demographic Will Be
Another important factor to keep in mind is your primary patient demographic. It's fairly common to have a pediatric urgent care clinic, especially if you're a pediatrician who wants to cater to children's needs. But if you want your primary patient base to be adults, it's important to formulate your business strategy with that in mind. During your urgent care business consulting process, you'll be able to review all of this information.
Be Aware of Common Challenges
When you want to start a successful urgent care center, it's important to be aware of common challenges. One of the most common challenges is determining what your hours will be. Most urgent care business consulting professionals may recommend strategies to help you determine the best solution for your situation. Staffing and inventory management are two other common challenges you might run into if this is the first medical clinic you've ever opened.
For the best assistance addressing these challenges, it's essential to work with urgent care business consulting professionals. They're typically in a good position to help you determine things like urgent care start-up costs and other challenges listed above.
If there's anything you should take away from this blog, it's that developing a business strategy with an urgent care business consultant is key to starting a successful retail medical clinic. The vast majority of startups fail due to a lack of preparation. With these tips and the help of your urgent care business consultant, you should be on the path to medical clinic success in no time.
An urgent care start up is the same as starting any other business. You need to start with enough research, have careful planning, and leap of faith. Urgent cares were first launched in 2000, and the country has more than 2,000 facilities as of 2016, a number that will only continue to grow.While taking a leap of faith is essential, you can secure it by basing your decisions on good information, and by having adequate funds to get your plans rolling. Here are variables to consider as you get started.
Strong urgent care start up business plan has projections on how much money you need to get started, the number of people you are targeting and their characteristics, the relationship you will have with the local hospital, as well as the equipment you need for your center. The business plan will also have how much money you expect to make, not just the first month, but the first year to the fifth year. It includes your marketing plan, which outlines how you plan on reaching patients and bringing them into your treatment center.
Starting an urgent care business requires that you have the right credentials, hire experts in the services you will be offering, as well as market your clinic. Your services are less expensive than hospitals, but you must have good relationships with the hospitals in your locality. Visit your local government offices and check the legal documents and certifications you need to start your business.
You can’t cut corners on this so make you have everything set up right before you begin. You must also check the insurance you need as you will be working closely with insurance companies. With these tips, you are on your way to starting a center that will are for its community.
Urgent care has become very popular in the United States. Statistics show that the average cost of treatment in a retail clinic is 30% to 40% less than visiting a physician’s office. If you own an urgent care facility, you need to make sure that a quality urgent care marketing plan. In this post, we will discuss the different aspects of a marketing plan that will sell your clinic as a preferred caregiver for patients.
When creating your urgent care marketing plan remember that marketing is a marathon and not a sprint, but that does not mean that you should take your time to implement your plan. Instead, be flexible enough to change your plan to fit the data you have collected, and to adjust anything on your plan that is not working to your favor.
It does not hurt to check at what the competition is doing that is working for them. Do not attempt to reinvent the wheel; if is it not broken, don’t waste effort in trying to improve it. Instead, copy what is working and make it better, so it brings in more profits for your business. Talk to a marketing consultant to figure out which strategy will be best for you.
Urgent care is booming with business as millions of patients visit urgent care clinics every year. Statistics show that 19% of US citizens have accessed an urgent care center in the past year. Factors that have contributed to this growth include convenience, patient demand, cost, and better work-life balance for physicians.
So, what was the beginning of urgent care clinics?
The first urgent care business model was implemented in 1970 by emergency medicine physicians. Their idea was to provide immediate care without compromising the qualification of the doctors. It began by delivering necessary treatment for cold, flu, and aches. But, the urgent care business, continues to evolve, leading to a broader range of services. Today, you get treated for rashes, STDs, sprains, bites, burns, and other minor issues.
Urgent care clinics continue to grow, and there is no defined end to these facilities. If you combine their cost-effectiveness and timely care, it is clear the sector is set to grow further.
Are you planning to start an urgent care business?
When it comes to starting an urgent care business, you need to ask questions that will benefit both your business and patients. So, which are these questions?
1. Do The Facility Take Insurance?
Medical services are costly, even with insurance coverage. But, urgent care profit margin is minimal, and that's why they're cost-effective. Nonetheless, patients avoid unexpected bills and would prefer the use of insurance. So, ensure your facility accommodates many insurance providers.
2. How Much Does It Cost?
The question becomes important when deciding on urgent care start-up cost and the cost you’ll charge the patients. Therefore, choosing a convenient location where rent is moderate, results in fair charging of your patients.
3. Is The Care Facility Integrated With Primary Hospitals?
It's advisable to start urgent care business that is a sub of a big hospital. Why? The urgent care clinic is meant to reach patients conveniently. But, the patients had their primary doctors before you even started your business. This does not mean you can’t be independent, but, incorporating medical history from the primary doctor of the patient is wise.
4. What Are the Services You’ll Provide?
Do you have an on-site laboratory and pharmacy? It’s essential to install and equip labs and pharmacies. Urgent care business is supposed to cover convenience; therefore, don’t send your patient to get lab test services elsewhere.
5. Who Is Your Target? Are You Targeting Numbers Or Patients?
Besides having all the requirements a medical facility needs, use the whole patient approach. Don't treat the patient like an item or a number. Take your time with the patient and don't rush to treat them anyhow. You need to assure your patients that your facility is the best. Care about patients’ health and not the money they’ll bring next time they visit because you didn’t treat them well in the first encounter.
6. Have You Hired Enough Medical Practitioners?
It's essential to have enough doctors so that patients don't take long waiting in agony. If patients realize you have enough doctors, they’re assured of personalized treatment, and therefore, they are confident about your facility.
Health is the most important gift you can give your community. Therefore, besides looking out for urgent care start-up cost, strive to provide the best medical practice.
A 2018 report found that there are more than 2,800 retail medical clinics in the United States, which represents a significant increase in urgent care centers. However, not all of these new urgent care facilities are recording profits. Urgent care profit margins are dependent on several factors that have to be considered carefully as the market gets more crowded. Here are some of the strategies that you need to follow when starting urgent care business so that you can have a high urgent care profit margin.
1. A Rock Solid Urgent Care Business Plan
An urgent care business plan is one of the primary factors that you need to observe before starting an urgent care center. The success of the facility depends on how well this strategy has been planned and executed. However, the execution process will always be wrong if the planning process was incomplete. You need to plan every aspect of the urgent care clinic, including the urgent care marketing strategies that you will be executing.
2. Ownership Model
Any business has an ownership model or structure that highlights the percentage of the business that is owned by various parties. You can decide that your business will specifically be owned by you, which means that you will be the sole decision maker, and you will provide the capital to the entire clinic. However, you can join hands with a local hospital and use some of the resources of the hospital. The ownership model you choose is very important because it affects your urgent care profit margin.
3. Operational Location
The location of an urgent care startup is also critical. It plays a major role in determining whether the business will be successful or not. The idea is to locate the business in a region that has a very high population so that the clinic can get a considerable number of customers. The planning face should include a very comprehensive plan of ensuring that the clinic has been located in a prime area. You do not only consider the population in a particular region but also other medical facilities. You cannot position your medical facility in an area of other facilities.
4. Services to Offer
Your urgent care clinic can be a general service medical facility or a specialist facility. It all depends on the services that you think will attract a large number of clients. However, understanding the medical trends of any community is necessary for deciding what your urgent care center will be offering. Urgent care consultants can be beneficial when deciding on the services you will be offering. Most of the consultants have been in the industry for a longer period, and they know what works and what does not work in a particular community.
5. Hire Consultants
Urgent care consulting is an important aspect that you should follow when you are starting a medical clinic. You might be a medical specialist, but you don't have the know-how on how to start a business. Consulting industrial expert is a necessity that you cannot ignore. You need to get information from people who have already been in the urgent care business. Some important details that you should consider checking to include the urgent care profit margin. That will inform you whether you need to start this business or not. Although the actual motive of starting urgent care facilities is to offer services, getting some profit is vital.
6. Incorporate Technology
After undertaking all the necessary business plans and getting sufficient information from industry experts, you need to get the right technology to run your business. Other urgent care facilities in your region might have the same skills and expertise in running urgent cares and helping clients. Incorporating advanced technology will give you a cutting edge over your competitors.
Starting an urgent care facility is similar to starting a salon, restaurant, and moving services, among others. Most of the factors to be checked are similar, but there are specific details that need to be observed before starting an urgent care facility. These details are key to success. You need to run from consultants and successful urgent care operators before starting your facility.
Walk-in medical centers first started showing up in 2000. By 2016, there were over 2,000 clinics in operation across the United States—and that number is only continuing to grow.
If you’re wondering how to start an urgent care clinic of your own, you’ve come to the right place. The following are two of the most critical things to consider about starting your own urgent care business.
What Unique Features Will Your Urgent Care Startup Offer?
Your passion may be for helping people heal and recover from trauma, but let’s be honest: your goal as a business-person is to launch a profitable urgent care business.
And it’s true across practically all business categories that, unless what you do is different from what everyone else is doing, no one will come to you instead of the competition.
So the question is, what will set your urgent care apart from everyone else? What is your unique selling proposition (or USP)?
Your USP might be that you focus your practice and marketing towards athletes, and you’re located next to a gym or a beach.
It might be being open after typical working hours, and your target audience could be people that work late or play sports after work.
Or it could be specialized offers that go beyond basic urgent care, such as assistance for people struggling with weight loss or recovering from drug addictions.
How Much Does it Cost to Start an Urgent Care?
Launching an urgent care startup is like building any other business—it starts with months of careful research, planning, and development, and at last, a leap of faith.
Besides having good, trustworthy information to back up your plans, you’ve got to have the financial capital to realize those plans. This may come in the form of a bank loan, investments made by friends and family who believe in you, or out of your own savings.
The question you’re likely wondering is, how much money are you going to need?
The answer to this question depends mainly upon three things: the location where you intend to launch your practice; the size of the building you need to meet your future patients’ needs; and the real estate arrangement you’re going to use.
First of all, the location for your urgent care is critical. Ideally, it needs to be easily-visible, in a high-traffic area.
Unfortunately, such spots can be hard to come by, and even harder to afford. However, if you have a competent practice, the right location can more than pay off in the long run.
Obviously, geography also has a considerable effect on the amount of money needed to launch. Cost of land is much higher in some areas than in others. Different states will also place differing expenses upon startup owners in the form of taxes and fees. City areas are typically much more expensive than rural areas.
Second, regarding the size of your urgent care startup. Urgent care clinics are, on average, roughly 3,000 square feet. However, the only factor that should determine the size of your clinic is not how big anyone else’s is, but how many patients you intend to serve at a time.
When it comes to choosing a better size or a better location, the location should always come first. It doesn’t matter how big your office is if no one can find it. On the flip side, if you have so much traffic that you can’t fit everybody who needs care inside at once, you’ll have a good reason to upgrade later on, once you’re actually making a profit.
Last, the cost will also be determined by your real estate arrangement. Are you going to lease a general-purpose building, build a brand-new clinic, or buy an existing office? You should carefully look into all of your options before choosing anything.
Most urgent care owners lease the space for their practice. Whatever you do, you’ll want to work closely with an architect who specializes in medical care centers. This will ensure that your original space or upgrades are compliant with medical and safety codes.
It’s estimated that the average urgent care startup involves a cost-to-launch of between $850,000 and $1 million. The good news, however, is that clinics also tend to break even and start turning a profit within a year and a half to two years.