Are you looking to change your practice model?
It’s one of the biggest dilemmas your patients face when they’re sick: To call their primary care physician’s office and see if they can get a coveted sick visit, knowing they’re likely to be squeezed in and spend a lot of time waiting? Or to visit an urgent care where they won’t have the personal relationship with the doctor treating them, but they’re much more likely to get in and out quickly?
As a primary care provider, this is probably a source of frustration for you as well. You became a doctor to heal illness and help people, right? Yet when your patients feel sick, they often choose to see someone else because of convenience.
So, what’s the best way to provide the convenience of urgent care without sacrificing patient experience?
In today’s ever-evolving healthcare landscape, many PCPs are trying a new model, that of a walk-in primary care clinic. With this model, you provide your patients with the benefits they expect from seeing their primary care doctor. You also provide the conveniences previously exclusive to an urgent care setting.
The Benefits: Improved patient experience & satisfaction
A Strong Provider-Patient Relationship
PCPs serve a distinct purpose – building a relationship with one provider who knows your medical history, and how best to treat you. That relationship cannot be duplicated in a 10-minute encounter with the staff doctor at your local urgent care. You know your patients’ medical history, their allergies, and preferences. Their best, most personalized care will come from you.
No Need to Make an Appointment
The biggest lure of an urgent care clinic is speed. When a patient is sick, they want taken care of without hassle. By switching to a walk-in model, you’re taking stress off your patients of wondering if they’ll be seen when they fall ill. This also eliminates the decision between being seen now at an urgent care or being seen by someone who knows their history. When they feel sick, they come in to see you, plain and simple. Overall, the convenient access to their PCP may positively impact patient experience and satisfaction.
Reduced Wait Times
For many patients, a sick appointment means they’re likely to spend a long time in the waiting room. People do not want to sit around and wait when they are feeling ill. This is another reason patients will opt to visit an urgent care; the wait is often shorter. The workload in an urgent care is a stream of walk-ins who are seen, diagnosed, and sent on their way. This happens without the well visits, follow ups, and chronic care appointments scattered in between. By using a walk-in model, you’ll be able to see patients as they arrive on a first-come, first-served basis. This will greatly reduce wait times for everyone, making your patients very happy and taking the stress of an over-packed schedule off of you.
Changing the way you see patients requires an adjustment period, but today’s patients are busy just like today’s doctors. They want the best care possible, but they don’t want to wait around for it. By moving toward a walk-in clinic model, you keep up with your patients’ needs which can help increase retention and loyalty. Maybe, just maybe, you take a little of the stress of schedule maintenance off of your own plate as well.