Wellmont Health System is taking a hard look at how it can integrate services among its urgent care centers and hospital facilities. The company has announced a goal of having an urgent care center within 30 minutes of every patient in its region. It’s noteworthy that Wellmont views distance between the urgent care center and the patient (and not the nearest hospital) to be of key importance. Given the trend toward viewing urgent care centers as the “front door” to the health system, it would make sense that the operator would want to “intercept” patients en route to competing options—something best accomplished with an urgent care center that’s close to home. Right now, Wellmont has 12 urgent care centers; 70% of those are adjacent to Wellmont Medical Associates primary care offices. It also operates seven hospitals covering 23 counties in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Beyond physical proximity, Wellmont says it would like to also encourage adoption of standardized protocols across its facilities; improve communication among its various locations; and help ensure a healthy work–life balance for its employees—all objectives that can be brought closer to realization by making smarter use of its urgent care properties, according to the company.
Wellmont Wants to Align Urgent Care Centers More Closely with Other Facilities