Practice Management Articles

Urgent message: As many primary care providers expand their hours and offer walk-in service, the lines between urgent care and primary care become blurred. To remain competitive, urgent care operators will need to more clearly define their value to patient and payers, increase the acuity of services offered to reduce duplication, and become more innovative in their service delivery and partnerships. ALAN A. AYERS, MBA, MAcc Introduction For years, many primary care physicians (PCPs) have looked at urgent care with skepticism. While they realize that urgent care can be aRead More
Urgent message: Ideally, paid advertising should show a return on investment based on the revenue it generates. However, revenue-based metrics are difficult to prove using social media, in which “likes” are more valuable in identifying fully engaged patients than generating direct sales. When it comes to social media marketing channels, Facebook remains atop the throne. The fact that 80% of Fortune 500 companies have an active Facebook page more than supports that assertion, and stands as testament to the platform’s meteoric rise. Indeed, brands and companies spend billions each yearRead More
  Urgent Message: Urgent care demands that providers meet goals for fast patient turnaround and positive patient experiences, which when combined with tight staffing makes recognizing and preventing provider burnout a priority for urgent care providers. It’s been said that providers are the lifeblood of any healthcare organization. Indeed, they’re the collective engines that make everything go, such that their focused engagement and dedicated patient care are critical for organizational success. But that dedication often leaves those same providers carrying a heavy mental and emotional burden—a burden that’s leading aRead More
 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