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Be sure and watch for insights from UCAOA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC. Each month, Laurel shares insights on our industry, activities affecting urgent care, and information on UCAOA advocacy efforts and other events.

 

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Start a Revolution at Evolution 2.0

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Monday, April 2, 2018

It’s not surprising that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase have joined forces to impact the rising costs of healthcare. The complexities of healthcare and the billions spent annually on healthcare lobbying have limited the ability of the government to implement any material change. The 1976 movie Network features fictional broadcaster Howard Beale’s famous speech where he implores the people to open their windows and yell out, “I’m not going to take this anymore!” He tells his listeners to first get mad, then we’ll all figure out how to solve the problem.

 

This seems to be the approach being taken by these titan corporations. They have indicated that they intend to leverage technology as a solution, but little else is known about how they are going to revolutionize healthcare delivery. But they’re mad. And we can help.

 

The Affordable Care Act made changes, but 11.7% of adults were uninsured in 2017.1 And the average family who did have coverage experienced their employer-sponsored healthcare premium grow 20% from 2011 to 2016, with an anticipated increase of another 6.5% in 2018.2 Some predict that as healthcare costs increase and income remains relatively constant, staying well will consume the average worker’s income in the not-too-distant future. And when two lines cross on a graph, something big is bound to happen. Mike Ferguson, chief operating officer of the Self-Insured Institute of America, wrote “By breaking free of the conventional coverage model, self-insured companies are finding innovative ways to improve the health of their workers, and at lower cost. Business leaders and policy-makers should take note.”3

 

Consumer-driven healthcare isn’t going away. But we need to do more than adapt to these inevitable changes. We need to collaborate with these innovators and invent the future. Telemedicine’s growth was catalyzed by the self-insured employers. When Cigna and United Health put their toe in the water to cover telemedicine visits several years ago, the coverage was limited to the self-insured groups they administered.

 

So, what can we do? Our growth strategies must extend beyond penetrating the traditional payer community to partnering with employers. The next time you have an opportunity to speak with an employer about their injured worker, why not bring up the benefits you can provide by caring for their entire workforce? You can set up an on-site or provide care in your near-site center. Many payer contracts restrict you from providing care that extends beyond episodic illness and injury, but employers shouldn’t care where the wellness care is taking place. You have the opportunity to provide unfettered care where the employee’s health and future savings are the ultimate goals.

 

Embrace change, embrace technology, and embrace integration. Get involved in healthcare policy at the state level and help UCAOA when we need your voice at the federal level. It’s much more satisfying to proactively influence policy than fall victim to it.  

 

I hope you’ll join us next month at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas for UCAOA’s Annual Convention & Expo. We will address employer strategies and update you on the regulatory climate. We’ll host state and chapter networking discussions and encourage thought leadership on strategies to influence meaningful change. The convention has been dubbed Evolution 2.0 to reflect the next trajectory of our relatively nascent industry. Think of it as (R)EVOLUTION 2.0, and together, let’s lead it.

 

References

1.   Well-Being Index. U.S. uninsured rate rises in 2Q 2017. July 2017. Available at: http://www.well-beingindex.com/u.s.-uninsured-rate-2q-2017. Accessed March 6, 2018.

2.   PwC. Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers 2018. Available at: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/behind-the-numbers/reports/hri-behind-the-numbers-2018.pdf. Accessed March 6, 2018.

3.   Ferguson M. Self-insured companies help push health care innovations. Investor’s Business Daily. March 22, 2017. Available at: https://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/self-insured-companies-help-push-health-care-innovations/. Accessed March 6, 2018.

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Tags:  ceo  Convention  growth  Membership  payer  technology  telemedicine 

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Beyond Access: Redefining Your Value Proposition

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC, Monday, March 13, 2017

By Laurel Stoimenoff, CEO of Urgent Care Association of America, published in March 2017 JUCM


Urgent care centers were the creators of convenient access to care for non-life and limb-threatening illnesses and injuries. Consumers embraced the convenience and the rest of the world noticed. New delivery models catalyzed by growing expectations for on-demand services have provided those seeking healthcare services more options than ever before.  If you are feeling the impact, it may be a manifestation of the successful model you developed and now others are electing to modify or mirror it. To ensure that urgent care continues to thrive in the new on-demand marketplace, we must ask ourselves what we can do to renew our value proposition.

 Where we begin remains as steadfast as ever: make sure the focus stays on the needs and expectations of the patient.

To do this, we must know what today’s patient is seeking and anticipate what tomorrow’s consumer will expect. With many choices for ready access to care, why choose urgent care?

Convenience is Still Key

More than ever, convenience is a driver for healthcare decision making. Customers seek prompt, quality service that is most easily integrated into their busy lives. Urgent care continues to lead on this main value proposition – the 2016 UCAOA Benchmarking Survey found 92 percent of urgent care patients waited 30 minutes or less to be seen by a practitioner last year, and 90 percent of visits took 60 minutes or less to complete.

While telemedicine, retail and other on-demand services are also finding niche roles in the continuum of care, urgent care remains a necessity due to our combination of broad scope of services, fast delivery of care and great value. Studies indicate this trifecta of convenience will remain extremely important to the customer of the future – the millennials.

A UCAOA survey from 2016 revealed millennials prioritize cost-savings and accessibility when making healthcare purchasing decisions. It is no surprise then that a study from the Health Industry Distribution Association (HIDA) showed 43 percent of millennials reported using an urgent care center in the last year.

Embrace Technology

Technology is no longer a supplement to our business – it is driving our business as connectivity and accessibility are the new normal. And patients now grasp the value of on-demand services and integration of technology to simplify their healthcare services.

Technology can impact the customer experience at every stage of the patient visit. Time-saving check-in processes conducted online are becoming commonplace, as are providing patient alerts when a practitioner is ready to see them. Likewise, many urgent care centers are integrating telemedicine capabilities into their operations to make better use of the medical providers when there are lulls in patient traffic.

Finding ways to improve our customer-centric service is a priority throughout the industry, and will be a continued educational focus at the Urgent Care Convention & Expo in National Harbor, MD, April 29 – May 3. Experts and peers will highlight how technology can help urgent care centers capitalize on new opportunities, and what to expect in the next decade of health innovation. We will discuss how best to cultivate healthy interactions with patients using current technologies, and why this engagement is vital to urgent care’s future growth and success.

Prioritize Patients Over Process

In an effort to stay innovative with the latest technology, urgent care centers often adjust their service model to accommodate the demands of payers, technology providers or other third parties. Allowing these roadblocks to get in the way of delivering the optimum, on-demand care that patients are actively seeking out would betray the foundation urgent care was built on: convenience and accessibility. If the tail is wagging the dog, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate.

Look Back to Move Forward

As the market for on-demand healthcare continues to grow, urgent care must lead the way in efficiency, convenience and a consumer-focused experience.

The upcoming UCAOA Convention & Expo in April will highlight market insights on the state of urgent care now and in the future. We will analyze industry developments over the past year, and brainstorm how they will form the foundation of health service business models as patient needs and expectations continue to evolve.

To ensure our path forward stays the most relevant, we may need to take a step back, identify and eliminate barriers, before pressing forward with a renewed focus on consumer needs and operational efficiency. 

Tags:  accessibility  connectivity  on-demand services  patient care  telemedicine 

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