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Agile Urgent Care Centers are Perfectly Suited to Focus on the Entire Patient Experience

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A recent story in the Harvard Business Review detailed the trials and errors that some large healthcare providers are having while trying to wrap their arms around the patient’s journey. The article states that, “many leading hospitals are starting to focus more on understanding the patient experience to solve problems, as well as to improve the overall patient experience and to lower costs. Yet it’s not always easy to get key stakeholders to consider nonclinical aspects of this type of work.”

In order to address the overall patient experience, many of these large organizations are adding a dedicated chief experience officer to their leadership team or putting a team of design thinkers on the case.

“Progressing the decision process within a healthcare organization is like moving a mountain,” said Trevor Anderson, vice president of customer success with PatientBond, a company with solutions to change healthcare consumer behavior. “So many stakeholders and committees can prove challenging when trying to improve or make change happen”

Smaller organizations, like many urgent care centers (UCC), are also realizing that focusing on the patient’s experience can help improve care while also generating new and return business. Yet, these businesses don’t have the luxury of dedicating a team to focus solely on patient experience

Fortunately, they don’t need to. Most of these organizations have the benefit of being nimble enough to make operational changes without having to take them to a committee.

“When you’re talking about a group of two to three clinics – or even a 40 or 50 clinic urgent care chain – it’s easier to make those decisions,” said Anderson. “What’s interesting for urgent care centers, in many cases, is that the owner is the doctor that’s actually meeting with patients - it’s up close and personal.”

However, while these organizations can make administrative changes much more nimbly than larger providers, they often lack the bandwidth to do so. Because UCC staff and clinician time is so valuable, these organizations can lean on technology to help them shift their focus on the patient experience.

Designing a patient-centered culture at your UCC does not have to take time away from other important tasks, click here to learn more.

For example, a recent case study examines how Total Access Urgent Care (TAUC) overcame its struggles with collections.

“TAUC had a full-time employee making phone calls all day trying to collect on past due payments,” said Anderson. “They told us they had about a 5 percent collection rate, and that was her whole job until they leveraged PatientBond platform in their process. Once deployed TAUC immediately saw an increase of up to 20 percent of payments being made. In addition, they were able to reallocate the full-time employee to focus on other clinic related duties.

“Urgent care centers, like TAUC, understand the value of the patient experience, and with PatientBond they can be more efficient in executing their plans. Another example is UCCs that are focused on following up with patients with dedicated resources making phone calls to every patient that came through the door on the previous day. We can reach out to those patients much easier with a text, email, or call and reduce that list down to a percentage of the patients that really do want a phone call back. The others can just tell us immediately they’re okay and then move on. From a full-time employee perspective, that’s a big timesaver, that provides an obvious ROI impact.”

Additionally, utilizing a solution like PatientBond can help improve a UCC’s rating on social media sites like Yelp, which is key to generating and maintaining business.

“We all look to social media to validate our choices whether it’s for dinner or entertainment. More and more, this is becoming true for our healthcare,” said Anderson. “PatientBond can drive patients to an urgent care center by helping them improve their social media scores. We do that through our surveys, which push patients directly to a social media site. As those scores go up – just like looking for a restaurant – people who need an urgent care center and search on social media will select the one with the highest score. And that’s going to drive revenue to those offices with the highest scores.”

Improving the patient experience will enable urgent care centers to build relationships with their patients and encourage return visits for wellness checks and non-acute related injuries.

“That’s the impetus of our name: PatientBond,” said Anderson. “We utilize technology to create stronger and better relationships between the patient and the urgent care center.”

For a more detailed look at the TAUC case study, how they were quickly able to successfully improve their collection rates, and their future plans with PatientBond, click here.

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