The Urgent Care Association of America estimates that three million patients across the United States visit an urgent care facility each week.
It’s not hard to see why. Whether you need to be treated for illness and injuries or you need treatment for a wound repair or you need IV fluid, an urgent care can be a one-stop shop for patients dealing with a multitude of medical problems including: asthma, sexually transmitted diseases, sports injuries, muscle strain and sprains, ear infections, dizziness and many other ailments.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits of visiting an urgent care. Another benefit of urgent care facilities is that you can get medical attention while avoiding a trip to the ER. You’ll be seen sooner and be treated by a doctor who is experienced in dealing a variety of medical issues.
For doctors, especially those who have had experience at urgent care clinics, there are many benefits to partnering with a group and opening one yourself. It can be done successful, provided you avoid some of the following mistakes:
- Don’t waste money. If you’re starting up an urgent care facility, all expenses big and small should be treated with equal importance. Equipping an urgent care with equipment and all other needs takes money to do and keeping track of bills is paramount. If you and a group of your fellow doctors are personally investing money in this venture, you’ll want to know exactly how the money is being spent and you’ll keep a better eye on it.
- Not thinking about location of an urgent care facility. If you’re wondering how to start an urgent care clinic, you want to make sure you open it in an ideal location. If you’re opening yours in a bigger city, consider where it is in relation to other similar facilities and what kind of population you’ll be serving on a daily basis. Take time to also consider other types of medical facilities in your area like hospitals. Ultimately, you want to make sure there’s a steady number of patients coming to your facility and not just opting for the hospital.
- Not considering the purchase of an existing urgent care. Purchasing an existing facility can have many benefits. Chances are good you can purchase any equipment that’s already inside the urgent care you’re purchasing. If you’ve got existing equipment that’s in good order, you can focus on upgrading other things in your facility.
- Not having a good enough business plan. Any business needs a workable plan if its going to stay open for a long time. Without one, an urgent care facility or any other business might be doomed from the start. Establishing a workable, flexible plan will enable you to adapt as your facility’s needs change or as business increases.
- Going into business for the wrong reasons: If you’re opening an urgent care, ideally you’re opening it because you care about helping those in need, not to make money.
- Ignorance with finances. If you’re wondering how to start an urgent care, managing finances is arguably the single most important factor. A successful urgent care will have a successful billing system, people to oversee the billing system and different payment options for customers.
- Avoiding compliance protocols. If you’re going to open an urgent care, you’re going to want to make sure your facility follow also needed and necessary medical protocols. Taking shortcuts will cheat your patients out of care and could leave your facility in hot water.
- Expanding too quickly. If your urgent care facility is successful, the temptation might be there to expand to additional facilities. It may sound like a great idea at the outset, but you might want to think twice before doing it. Expanding too quickly can lead to staffs being spread too thin or even overstaffing.
For doctors who want to open an urgent care facility, avoiding the pitfalls described above will help your business be successful. Take time to consider your equipment needs, your staffing needs, your financial needs and how you’re going to ensure you’re following all proper protocols. Your goal is to help patients get the care they need and following the right steps will help you and your fellow doctors do that consistently.