The United States is a transient society, with approximately 12% of Americans changing residences each year. The rates are much higher for those living in apartments (24%) vs owner-occupied homes (5%) and for young people under age 34 (34%) than those more established in their homes, families, and careers. Data also indicate a continued out-migration from dense urban areas to the suburbs and exurbs and from the “rust belt” to the “sunbelt.” When a family moves into a new home, they typically establish their “habits” within the first 90 days—which is why retailers, restaurants, and service businesses actively seek and market to new movers. If you don’t already do this, too, you should consider it.
Single adults or families new to the area are unlikely to have a primary care provider; yet, they still have healthcare needs. Not only can injuries occur while moving, but children will need vaccinations and physicals to attend new schools or participate in new sports leagues.
If you can attract a patient when they are new to a community, provide good service, and connect them with other healthcare resources, then can gain a “fan” for years. That’s because people are creatures of habit. However, if your competitor gets the first chance because you didn’t market to new movers, then you may have to wait years for the opportunity to win the patient away from a competitor they are satisfied with.
As pictured, Swedish American Medical Center of the University of Wisconsin sends a “welcome” packet to new residents of Rockford, IL and the surrounding communities it serves. This particular example promotes the entire health system—hospital, primary care, specialists, and immediate care—with a welcome letter, listing of its health and immediate care centers, magnet, and a mail-in request for a first aid kit, provider referral, and information on community programs.
Similarly, many urgent care centers market to new movers by either subscribing to syndicated mailing lists, engaging with realtors and apartment operators, or by participating in services like Welcome Wagon and other newcomers clubs. Given that most moves occur in the summer months, now is the time to act, before the new school year begins.
Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc
VP, Strategic Initiatives, Practice Velocity, LLC;
Practice Management Editor,
JUCM—The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine