Each year, urgent care centers in the United States handle roughly 89 million patient visits. Despite this surge in urgent care utilization, many U.S. markets are already struggling with over saturation and fierce competition between neighboring clinics.

Choosing the right location and constructing a nice facility is a good start, but as patient options continue to grow, it will become increasingly important for urgent care centers to focus on improving the patient experience. 

In our modern world, consumers are used to benefits like on-demand access, minimal wait times, varied service offerings, and easy financial transactions—and the healthcare industry isn’t immune to these consumer needs. 

Integrating new technological solutions is one of the best ways to differentiate your urgent care from other clinics, and remain competitive in today’s market. Discover three smart ways urgent care centers can improve the patient experience to attract new and repeat business.

[Read: Why are urgent care centers growing in numbers?]

1. Online Check-In

Part of what makes urgent care centers so appealing to patients is the fact that appointments aren’t required. Still, nobody enjoys spending time sitting in a waiting room when they could be at home or work instead.  

Offering online check-in is a highly effective way for urgent care centers to differentiate their facility, attract new patients, and improve the overall experience. Although this feature is not a genuine “appointment,” it does allow the patient to reserve their place in line and see their estimated wait time.

This gives patients the flexibility to wait from home or work, and show up in time to be seen by the provider. Sick patients are able to rest and wait from the comfort of their bed, while healthy patients spend less time exposed to sick patients in the waiting room.

2. Digital Communications

In this day and age, consumers are used to inputting their information and scheduling the services they need with a single click of a button. Calling patients to confirm their appointment may have been a standard practice at one point in time, but it can feel tedious for patients today. The same goes for asking patients to fill out dozens of forms in the office.

Ease the patient experience by allowing them to register their information online—bonus points if they can do it directly from their smartphone. Send updates regarding expected wait times via text, and enable patients to view lab results and other appointment information through an online portal. Online billing is another critical feature for patient satisfaction.

These tech-forward solutions will help reduce the in-clinic wait time, and empower patients to “own” their urgent care experience. 

3. Expanded Service Offerings

In a comparison of nearly 85,000 urgent care Yelp reviews, one of the primary themes across all 1-star reviews was insufficient diagnostic testing. From the patient perspective, there is nothing more frustrating than spending time waiting to be seen by an urgent care provider, only to be told that the service they need can’t be handled by that clinic.

Urgent care centers that offer a greater variety of services—including advanced diagnostic lab testing—are better positioned to stand out from the competition.

MOMS provides urgent care centers and other medical access points (MAPs) with increased access to specialized lab tests. As part of the MAPs network, your urgent care clinic can expand its list of service offerings and attract more patients seeking advanced blood work. 

Patients have increasingly high demands, and it’s up to urgent care centers to rise to the challenge of meeting those demands. Learn more about how MOMS can help your urgent care center elevate its patient experience.