As with any new business, there are many important factors to address before your urgent care center is up and running. Here are a few key considerations that will help your business run smoothly from day one.
Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row
Having a well thought out budget for initial and projected expenses is one of the most important plans to begin with. At this stage, it’s best to overestimate costs and build in contingencies for unknowns. Here are some expenses you’ll need to plan for:
- Advertising and marketing
- Office space, building improvements, signage, lease or mortgage, utilities
- Equipment, supplies, inventory
- Incorporation fees, insurance, licenses, and permits
- Payroll, salaries, benefits, and employee-related expenses
Location, Location, Location!
Carefully consider your patient demographic and local competition before committing to a location. Are there already urgent care centers in the area, or are you filling a need for those services? Is the office accessible, in a prominent location, and is there enough parking? Would you own the building and take on the responsibilities of maintaining it, or are you beholden to a lease? Is there room to expand the business if you experience growth? Keep in mind not only short-term business needs, but also your long-term goals.
Identify a few ancillary and specialty healthcare services that make sense for your practice, based on the market and your doctors’ specialties. Offering occupational medicine services, wellness care, weight management, and nutritional programs can help limit seasonal business fluctuations and boost revenue.
Spread the Word
You have a business plan, budget, and you’ve secured the location. Now it’s time to start acquiring new patients. You’ll want to start advertising your new urgent care center before your doors even open. Create your free profile on Google to make sure your business shows up when nearby users search for urgent care services. For more help getting set up, visit https://www.google.com/business/ Make sure your website is searchable, mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. Be sure to include important information, such as specialties, staff bios, hours of operation, address and phone number, and insurance and payment methods accepted. Announce the opening with a direct mail campaign to local residents. Invite the community to tour the facility, meet the doctors, and ask questions about the practice. It’s important to make your presence known in the community before patients need your services so that your business is top of mind when they do need to come in for a visit. Patient testimonial videos, reviews, email marketing, and regular social media activity can help boost referrals and keep existing patients coming back to your practice.
Work Smarter with Reliable Technology
Good technology can help you run your business smoothly while also adding an invaluable layer of convenience for your patients. An Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) solution, such as OmniMD, tailored to your urgent care center can make patient intake and management a breeze. Benefits include:
- Smart-phone-enabled patient check-ins, which help decrease wait times and reduce time periods of high patient volumes.
- A customized registration process, which captures only the relevant patient information you need in a single screen.
- Secure patient access to request appointments and medication refills, receive test results, and update profile information gives patients the opportunity to keep their records up-to-date and reduces staffing needs to answer patient inquiries and schedule appointments.
Cash is almost a thing of the past. Speed up payment processing with electronic credit or debit card payments and give your patients the convenience and flexibility of accepting various payment methods and insurance providers.
And when it comes to billing, consider outsourcing to an expert in urgent care coding and billing to reduce errors and maximize collections. When you combine an intelligent practice management software solution with medical coding and billing experts, both specialties of OmniMD, you can ensure that claims are paid at contracted rates, tracked persistently, and payer nuances are considered to optimize coding.
Properly trained staff and well-managed billing practices are part of efficient revenue cycle management, which is extremely important for maintaining a profitable urgent care center. Proper patient registration and visit documentation produces more accurate coding and reduces the chances of lost time and revenue due to under-coding or audits brought on by up-coding.
Open for Business
Starting up an urgent care center can be a challenging, but rewarding pursuit. Be sure to carefully consider your location, know your market and specialties, and make room in your budget for marketing and technology investments such as EHR and PM software and billing services. With these tips in mind, a profitable, efficient urgent care center with patient-friendly technology is surely in your future.
Join the Conversation
Do you own an urgent care center? What tips would you add?