On the surface, offering online check-in sounds like a can’t-miss proposition that combines the organization of an appointment-based practice with the convenience of a walk-in system. As with most innovations that purport to solve all your problems in a given area, however, this option is not risk-free for urgent care operators who want to drive up visits while offering a better experience for their patients. According to a new article published on LinkedIn by Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc, CEO of Velocity Urgent Care and the practice management editor of JUCM, some patient registration systems act as “‘Trojan horse’ portals that siphon off users who intended to book with your urgent care, and redirect them to an online urgent care ‘aggregator.’” In effect, they take patients whose only original intention was to get in to see your providers as efficiently as possible and divert them to online marketplaces where your competitors get a shot at bringing them in instead. “Essentially,” writes Ayers, “this software serves as an ‘OpenTable’ of sorts for the urgent care industry. Instead of booking exclusively with your center, patients are presented with competing options to choose from. In the end, your erstwhile patient might still choose your center, or they may deem a competitor to be cheaper, faster, or closer. And your center loses that revenue.” Those options are not limited to brick-and-mortar locations, either; some patients may be poached by telemedicine providers, as well. This is not to say that online registration systems are inherently predatory entities that should be avoided at all costs. Rather, the article serves as a warning to be vigilant when approached by vendors who claim they only want to make your customers’ lives easier and your business more efficient and robust. Ask the hard questions and seek out the opinions of other businesses that have worked with them before.
Beware Overly Intrusive Online Patient Check-In Systems