The acquisition of ZoomCare by PeaceHealth brings what was predicted to be a retail-style phenomenon under the umbrella of a relatively traditional hospital system. The irony is that ZoomCare was in need of cash despite offering a practice model designed to appeal to millennial patients (the largest segment of the U.S. population today), but is still an appealing property to a regional hospital powerhouse. One of the key values is presumed to be access and referrals, as it would be for any physician’s office. Further, there may be lessons urgent care can draw from how ZoomCare smooths out the typical ebb-and-flow of patient traffic. For one thing, patients who register online are required to enter a credit card; if they end up not visiting a ZoomCare location, they get charged a no-show fee. (Consequently, ZoomCare doesn’t take Medicaid or Medicare.) That practice brings in revenue where there otherwise would be none, but the online booking app in effect breaks the day into 15-minute increments that patients can “reserve,” which winds up reducing wait times and making more efficient use of staff time. JUCM offered an analysis of ZoomCare offshoot Zoom+ in an article entitled Portland’s Zoom+: An Integrated Health System Built on Urgent Care.
What Can Traditional Urgent Care Learn from ZoomCare’s Ongoing Evolution?