Despite countless urgent care centers devoting lots of time, signage, and promotional messages to helping patients understand when they can go to an urgent care center or really do need to go to the emergency room, confusion prevails for too many. They go to the ED with a common earache or after they’ve stepped in a ditch and sprained their ankle. Or they go to an urgent care center with chest pain when there’s an ED just around the corner. BayCare, a health system headquartered in Florida, has launched a campaign to help them. Designed to be both informative and somewhat whimsical, it uses billboards to illustrate in succinct language and images when a patient can go to one of BayCare’s 17 urgent care locations in the Tampa/St. Pete market and when they should be in the ED at one of the company’s 15 hospitals. If you have the flu, urgent care can help; if you’re afraid you might have the plague, best to go to the hospital, for example. Not all operators have the money to manage such a campaign, but the idea could inspire similarly creative efforts to help patients find their way to you when it’s the right venue for their care. In the meantime, enjoy the billboards. (Photos courtesy of Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc.)30

Drive-by Promotions May Help Patients Choose the Right Care Setting—Including Yours
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