This physician-owned, community urgent care clinic in Rhode Island relied on a manual take-a-number system to manage the waiting room, while their competitors offered more convenient options like online check-in. Though many patients had a positive experience, the majority of the urgent care’s online reviews came from frustrated patients, many of whom were not satisfied with the inefficiency in the waiting room that resulted in long wait times and uncertainty.
The urgent care’s leaders sought out a way to improve the patient experience for its existing patients as well as attract new ones.They ended up implementing a combination of Walk-in Express and Check-in Express to modernize and add efficiency to the waiting process, while allowing patients the option of holding their spot online so they could be seen sooner upon arrival.
Check-in Express was implemented on the urgent care website so that patients had easier access and could schedule a visit on their own time, instead of simply walking in, taking a number and waiting an unspecified amount of time. In addition to giving patients a better way to access the urgent care, the online check-in option allowed them to do the majority of their waiting from the comfort of home.
Walk-in Express was set up as a digital sign-in in the lobby for all patients, whether they checked in ahead of time online or walked in. It gave them a projected treatment time automatically and sent wait time text message alerts to manage their expectations. In addition, a digital display board was set up in the lobby showing each patient their relative place in line, which was a great improvement over the number system.
Upon discharge, the system automatically texted patients to thank them for their visit and to ask for their feedback. Staff were able to view the feedback as it came in so they could address any less than stellar experiences. Patients who shared the most positive feedback were then encouraged to share their thoughts online by receiving a link to the clinic’s Google business page.
Why is this form of reputation management worthwhile? It may be no surprise that 91% of consumers read online reviews when searching for a local business, and 85% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (based on 2017 data) while 68% are more likely to use a local business when the reviews are positive. More importantly, of those local business reviews that consumers read, about a third of them are for medical/healthcare related businesses.* Not only is having more positive online reviews going have some influence over whether patients choose one urgent care over another, but Google also factors in review count and score into determining whether or not to show the business in the local search ranking. The mobile experience for Google’s search results page is especially competitive considering they have shortened the business listing from 7 results to only 3 results. Showing up in those top 3 results is crucial for gaining visibility and clicks.