The urgent care business is booming and you’re ready to get in on the action! But even though it’s exciting, starting your own business brings its own set of concerns.
How do you set yourself and your business up for success?
With the right plan, it may not be as hard as you first think. There are certain things you should focus on to make sure you give patients the healthcare services they’ll keep coming back to.
Let’s look at 8 secrets you can use to start and run a successful urgent care business.
1. Set up Your Licenses
Since each state holds its own licensing policies. You’ll need to check with your local Chamber of Commerce or licensing agency about what you’ll need to get started. It can take several months to get everything sorted, so start early!
Not only might you need a specific urgent care license, you’ll also need to consider medication distribution license, zoning, and other related issues.
Many states require a physician to own an urgent care business, which is why it’s so important to check with your local agency to find out the specifics.
If you start a business without the proper licenses, you could get hit with a hefty fine and unwanted legal woes.
2. Location, Location, Location
The location of your urgent care clinic can make or break your business. There are several things you should look out for before signing a lease agreement.
Don’t limit yourself to a solely residential area. Finding a location between residential and commercial is a good balance for business. Not only will you attract the general public, businesses would likely tap into the nearby occupational medicine services.
Study the local demographics. Knowing who is in the area will help tailor your services to meet their needs.
And steer clear of an area that already has an urgent care business, unless it’s a heavily populated location.
3. Get Credentialed
It’s no secret, you want to get paid for your services. And rightfully so! Getting credentialed will help you do that.
Sure, you could have an all-cash clinic, but you’d be limiting your patient population. Most people would like to file their visit through an insurance company.
Call the major insurance companies to find out what you need to do to get credentialed through them. This will give you a contract agreement for insured patients to have the ability to use your urgent care business.
Make sure you keep up with the credentialing requirements. If you fall behind on standards, you could lose your ability to get paid by the insurance companies.
4. Staff Yourself Right
A big mistake when starting your urgent care business is over staffing. It’s tempting to go in with an “all hands on deck” attitude, but you may find yourself quickly losing money.
Before your clinic gets too busy, having a minimalist staff is the way to go. For example, keep a buzzer up front and have an MA check people in before you hire a receptionist. This bare-bones approach works well while you have an average of one or two patients an hour.
Instead of quantity, first focus on quality. Hiring experienced staff will ensure the business runs well with the high-quality service you want to give your patients.
5. Make Your Clinic Easily Available
Making your urgent care business available to patients isn’t only about location, it’s about your operating hours and ease of access as well.
It’s obvious that the more patients you bring in, the more money you’re going to make. Opening your clinic early, staying open late, and even being open during the weekends and holidays will help bring more people through the door.
Having an online presence is another way to make your clinic available to patients. Services, such as telemedicine, will expand your service area. It also makes follow up care easier for people who don’t have the time or are not able to come in physically.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Most people take a sticker price at face value. But as a business owner, don’t be afraid to negotiate to save your clinic money.
Look at all your expenses that aren’t fixed. This will include items and services such as office supplies, lease agreements, cleaning services, and marketing costs.
These are all expenses that you can negotiate to a lower price. It may surprise you to see how much those savings can add up.
Examples of ways you can leverage a better deal are to compare lease prices of comparable properties to negotiate with your landlord. Print all your marketing material at one time with one company to get a better deal from the print shop. And join buying groups to buy supplies in bulk.
7. Up Your Technology Game
Technology and healthcare go hand-in-hand. The more you embrace and use technology in your favor, the more your clinic will thrive.
For example, having online bill pay will not only make it easier for patients to pay their bills, it ensures you receive your money in a timely fashion.
Set up text-based surveys to connect with patients after their visit. This helps you to measure how patients view your services. Plus, it lets you respond quicker to those who are unhappy with their visit.
And having a big online presence is key. Many patients research their healthcare options online before they go to a clinic.
Think of your website as your “second location”. Have it visibly appealing, easy to navigate, offer online check-ins, display patient reviews and social media links.
8. Set up Service Lines
Once you establish your urgent care business and it’s thriving, don’t think that’s all there is to it. Continue taking your business to the next level by offering different service lines.
A service line is a specialized area of medical practice, such as pediatrics or gerontology.
As mentioned before, occupational medicine is a great service line to offer. It helps bring a steady stream of patients throughout the year. Once cold and flu season passes, you still have occupational medicine patients coming in for lab tests and other workplace-related issues.
Set Your Urgent Care Business up for Success
Running your own urgent care business and helping patients is the dream. With these tips, you can turn that dream into a successful reality.
Looking for more business advice? Check out the other posts in our Business Articles section!