Your book ahead and walk-in patient volumes have probably decreased this last few weeks. How are you adjusting your business strategy as a result? As an urgent care operator and business leader, there are questions you should be asking yourself.
What do you think is the most important factor patients are considering when choosing a provider? What do you think a patient's top values are when they’re choosing a provider to get care? Have you considered the downside of not showing online availability to patients?
In 2021, 22 million urgent care visits were scheduled via Solv. While the urgent care business has historically been driven by walk-ins, the future of urgent care is same-day next-day bookings—uniquely positioning your business as the backbone of the entire healthcare system.
We put together a 35-minute webinar to bring you all the data and insights we’ve gleaned from scheduling those 22 million visits and unveil the trends and best practices in creating a great patient experience in urgent care.
Here is a sneak peak at 5 key learnings from the webinar.
Become ‘convenient’ or risk losing patients
In a recent patient survey, we asked people they are sick, what will be the top values for how they pick healthcare provider.
Appointments available right now was the number 1 pick, above bedside manner, insurance accepted, etc.
Urgent care convenience has always been about the ability to walk into a clinic. At some point, this “walk-in and receive care” model was novel and convenient, but as waiting rooms with unknown wait times become more common, it became less and less convenient.
Patients want more certainty around when they will be seen. 70% of patients search for care online. They want to limit the amount of time they spend in your clinic, and spend more time doing what they want.
Patients return to clinics who have an online appointment availability
There are vast learnings in this data as to how our health system has changed forever. Many operational strategies, first designed to simply survive in the pandemic, have now become part of the Urgent Care fabric in how we approach consumerism in healthcare.
In 2021, we saw continued effects of the “consumerization of healthcare” leading to very clear patient expectations—convenience above all else.
When asked in Solv’s post-visit patient survey, the top words patients used mirrored key convenience factors: easy, convenient, fast, quick, and efficient. Operators need to double down on these key factors.
If you don’t invest in showing same-day availability, patients will find someone who does.
Some very enlightening data shows that if you don’t have availability today, 20% will find somewhere else to go. And 75% of patients will find somewhere else if you don’t have any availability in the week.
54% of patients said that online scheduling or online check-in was very important to why they chose to go to that clinic. We know this is just one aspect of the convenience story, but clearly it’s a big factor if clinics want to make it into the patients consideration set.
Once they are in the clinic, 92% of patients would be more likely to visit again because the office offers online scheduling.
When you show availability, patients will come. If you don’t they will go somewhere else.
Patient experience drives loyalty… and revenue
Patients who left a 5-star review for the clinic returned to that clinic 2 more times (on average) in 2021. Patients who left a 4-star review for the clinic returned to that clinic 1.8 more times (on average) in the same year.
- Patients who left a 5-star review for the clinic returned to that clinic 2 more times (on average) in 2021
- Patients who left a 4-star review for the clinic returned to that clinic 1.8 more times (on average) in 2021
How’s that for a fun stat? The difference between a 5-star experience and a 4-star experience is 10% more loyalty—more repeat visits during the same year. So when we report that 90% of Solv-driven patients stay loyal to the location they book at, it’s because we helped make it easy for them, we helped improve access and convenience and removed stress from healthcare.
And they associate that great patient experience with your clinic’s overall patient experience. And with Solv they can re-book at your clinic with 2-taps in their app, driving loyalty.
Telemedicine is here to stay
Over the past 22 months, telemedicine is averaging between 11-25% of total scheduled visits. Obviously COVID surges spiked demand for telemedicine, too. But we should really pay attention to the gaps between those surges to predict the future of telemedicine.
As a more routine normal begins to unfold over the coming months (knock on wood), maybe we lose a few additional percentage points and we go down to 8-10% of urgent care business maintaining itself as virtual. Compare that to far less than 1% (near 0%) pre-COVID, that is a significant movement that was catalyzed in the past 24 months.
Online scheduling boosts revenue
Prior to the pandemic, best practice in UC was to have approximately 20-25% of pts booking online. With 1 in 4 patients booking this way, the industry realized this was the future and began to invest more heavily in that strategy.
As patients started to accept that touchless registration was a great way to seek care while being as safe as possible, the percent of folks registering for a visit this way skyrocketed.
Today, all urgent care locations are open for in-person business and COVID is not really directly impacting how folks seek care. Even with Omicron on its way out, over half of all urgent care patients are scheduling their visits online.