Practice Management Articles

 Urgent message: Urgent care centers need engaged and effective operations leadership, which entails clearly defining managerial roles, individual skillsets and personality characteristics and also having a process for attracting, interviewing, and qualifying managerial candidates. Jim Clifton, the highly respected CEO of global performance and research leader Gallup, has often stated that hiring the right manager is by far the most critical decision a company makes. Given how multifaceted and demanding urgent care operations can be at times, this maxim rings especially true in our industry. Putting a competent, skilled urgentRead More
Introduction It should not be surprising that when hospital executives and personnel sit down to discuss issues and problems around population health, accountable care organization (ACO) integration, network development, cost containment, new product lines, hospital readmission rates, care coordination, and related topics they often arrive at hospital-centric and hospital-based solutions to solve them.1 As hospitals and hospital networks look to urgent care centers to address some of these issues through hospital/urgent care affiliations, joint ventures, hospital-owned urgent cares, and other models, the basic relationship between these partners can have someRead More
Urgent message: A chain of command exists in most organizations to assure efficient and accurate communication, orderly and organized business operations, and proper allocation of time and resources. When the chain of command is broken, however, the entire business can suffer.  In American business culture, organizations are typically built in a hierarchal structure and follow an established chain of command. To ensure smooth and efficient operations, employees are generally expected to communicate work issues to the supervisor directly above them in the hierarchy for direction and resolution. Conversely, high-level managers,Read More
Urgent message: Travel medicine is a service addition that enables urgent care operators to attract more patients and increase revenue from existing patients while leveraging existing infrastructure and personnel. When an urgent care center’s patient revenues exceed operating expenses, the operation is said to have achieved break-even profitability—at which point each incremental patient visit contributes directly to the bottom line. Nevertheless, in the face of rising fixed costs and falling payer reimbursements, many centers still struggle to grow profits year after year. Thus, urgent care operators often look to ancillaryRead More
Urgent message: Medical assistants (MAs) provide flexible, cost-effective clinical support for urgent care centers. With proper training and working under a physician’s supervision, an MA can perform most basic support functions in this setting. Introduction While there’s a lack of verifiable data as to the total number of unsuccessful urgent care endeavors, we can presume at least one common reason urgent care centers shutter their doors and permanently cease operations: they exhaust their working capital. Working capital funds business operations, covering expenses such as payroll, rent, and supplies. Newly openedRead More
Urgent message: There is a growing need for awareness of medical, safety, and social issues involving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in health care. Here’s how urgent care fits in. Introduction There are significant unmet health needs among members of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) population, many of whom are afraid to access the health-care system and face barriers to care even if they do seek treatment. Clearly there is room for urgent care centers to step up with services and customer serviceRead More
Urgent message: Urgent care plays a vital role in reducing medical expenses and improving population health by enabling the right care, at the right place, by the right provider, at the right price. Introduction Health-care reform, quality of care, and costs are center stage topics for politicians and the general public. As medical providers and administrators in the United States, we share in the challenge of understanding this complex system. Whereas traditional approaches in the fee-for-service environment focused on “sick care,” population health promotes prevention and healthy lifestyles. Under discussionRead More
Using Telemedicine to Improve Throughput and Build Market Share
Urgent message: Telemedicine can augment walk-in urgent care operations via provider load–balancing across centers in multiunit networks as well as direct-to-consumer platforms that expand a center’s geographic coverage, differentiate a center’s brand from that of competitors, and drive additional revenue. Introduction Given that the most common diagnoses seen in urgent care centers are low-acuity, low-touch conditions affecting the respiratory system, ears, nose, or throat—many of which can be treated via telemedicine— the looming question for many urgent care operators is “What will telemedicine’s impact be on my business?”Read More